Battery safety information and warnings on e-cigarette packages and online
Pepper, J., Cress, M., Gammon, D., Razi, S., Rupert, D., & Lee, Y. (2018). Battery safety information and warnings on e-cigarette packages and online. Tobacco Regulatory Science, 4(1), 605-613. [DOI: https://doi.org/10.18001/TRS.4.1.7].
Objectives: E-cigarette battery failures, usually caused by unsafe user behaviors, can result in explosions and injuries. Consumers may turn to product packaging and online sources for information on battery safety, but little is known about what information and warnings are currently available there. Methods: Using scanner data, we identified the top-selling products (N = 24 to include at least one product from the top 20 manufacturers) and purchased them in February/March 2017. Two authors coded battery-related information and warnings that appeared on the product packaging and associated brand webpages, as well as on the top 30 most relevant Google search results and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) webpage on battery safety. Results: Only 10 of 24 products included battery-related warnings, and only one of the 10 had a battery-related warning on the exterior packaging. Product webpages had almost no battery safety information or warnings. The FDA's webpage and many Google search results had extensive information, although few webpages from search results cited sources for their recommended practices. Conclusions: Consumers must actively seek information about battery safety online to access it. Regulators should consider opportunities, such as health messaging campaigns, to educate the public and prevent harms resulting from battery failure.