Along with some other types of electronic devices like cell phones and headphones, there have been some reports of e-cigarettes or personal vaporizers exploding. Though e-cigarette explosions are very rare, they are one of the actual dangers of e-cigarettes known, and in a society where rumors of unfounded dangers of vaping make headlines almost daily, eliminating an actual danger is essential.
UL, formerly known as Underwriters Laboratory, is now offering certification to e-cigarette and vaporizer manufacturers. As a leading world authority on the safety of electronics and other consumer products, UL tests products and verifies their safety. A UL certification label on a product is an assurance to consumers that the product is safe.
In America as well as many other countries, e-cigarettes are getting a bad rap. Unfounded reports of health dangers from e-liquid and vaping are being spread across the media by U.S. health authorities who should know better. The real science behind e-cigarette safety testing shows very little, if any, dangers from vaping, with the possibility of dangers from long-term use of vaping devices still being unknown. While that fact is true for most every product that comes into existence in the early years, e-cigarettes are being treated as guilty until proven innocent by politicians and many health authorities. Because we don’t know the long term effects of vaping yet, they say, we must restrict the sale and use of vaping devices, just in case.
The very rare problem of e-cigarette technical malfunction causing explosions could easily be used as another excuse for anti-vaping groups to push for restrictions or even outright banning of e-cigarettes and vaping. UL certification of e-cigarette devices would offer assurance that a particular e-cigarette is safe, electronically. It is important to note, however, that UL certification would have nothing to do with testing the safety of e-liquid itself. It would only involve the hardware of e-cigarettes and personal vaporizers.
There is no word yet on how much the UL testing would cost e-cigarette manufacturers or distributors, but information about getting testing and certification for e-cigarettes is available by contacting UL. Testing of e-liquid that is set to become mandatory in August 2018 under the Food and Drug Administration rules will be quite expensive; up to $1 million per product. Because this cost has the potential to force many small e-cigarette retailers out of business, a bipartisan bill was introduced to change the rules.
So far there is no pending rule that will require UL certification for e-cigarettes, but if the cost of it also proves to be unaffordable for small businesses, a situation could arise in which only the wealthier companies producing e-cigarettes will be able to afford the UL label. That would likely mean that tobacco companies, ironically, would be among the few to get the UL certification, helping Big Tobacco to corner the market on e-cigarettes because their products would appear to be safer than others.
Though UL certification of e-cigarettes is a good thing, it will have to be available to and affordable for all e-cigarette manufacturers in order to prevent a monopoly and ensure that adult smokers have a wide variety of choices when choosing the safer alternative of vaping.