2 July 2013, 07:51
Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service are warning people to be careful if they use e-cigarettes, as they could start a fire.
They've issued the advice after reports that two house fires elsewhere in the UK have been started after the products caught light while they were charging on USB points.
According to the charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the use of e-cigarettes is confined almost entirely to ex-smokers and daily smokers.
They says among those who smoke more than 6 cigarettes a week and had heard of e-cigarettes, 48% had tried e-cigarettes once or twice, 7% use them more than once a month and 5% use them once a month.
Hampshire's Community Safety Officer Gary Elston said:
"We are obviously vigilant about the fact that other fire services have had problems with them.
"It seems to be the recharging of them. I don't know whether they're cheap ones that aren't quite up to standard, but when you plug them in to charge them they seem to be overheating and the actual batteries can set fire to things around them. Not every one of them, but some of them have.
"It's the old adage 'you get what you pay for'. If you're going to go down that route, make sure you get one that's approved - perhaps has got the Kitemark on it or the CE mark on it. That means it has been tested, and is not a cheap import.
"Follow the instructions, make sure you do it correctly. They've usually got a time limit on them that they're supposed to be on charge for. Whatever you recharge is always a potential threat, you shouldn't plug it in and go down the shops.
"Make sure you've got a working smoke alarm, make sure that you test it so that it gives you as much chance, if anything does go wrong, of getting out of the house as fast as you can."