An electronic cigarette is believed to have sparked a fire in an apartment building in South Perth, Australia. Presumably, a charging electronic cigarette was the source of the fire which caused roughly $150,000 in damages.
This has already led to further claims that electronic cigarettes are rather dangerous. Opponents of the devices are pointing to the incident — which happened less than 2 days ago — as proof that e-cigs represent a serious danger beyond just the chemicals in them.
This is likely to be an incident that people point to for the next year or more when discussing electronic cigarettes with a bias against them. This is, however, one incident involving no deaths compared to the 1,000 people a year in the US alone killed by fires started by conventional cigarettes.
This story is already being pushed around far more than it would were the fire to be started from any other source. Electronic cigarettes are getting an undue amount of attention for anything that goes wrong with them. This was a far bigger fire than the small scorch marks and thus far mostly contained fires sparked by other e-cigs.
Given that the electronic cigarette industry tipped more than $1.7 billion in the US last year, and has been growing rapidly worldwide, thus far, the number of incidents has been rather small. This is going to be a stretching point for almost all anti-e-cig arguments.