NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Newport News Shipbuilding has confirmed it will no longer allow e-cigarettes or vaping devices on company property.
The company said the move is to, "provide a safe work environment and prevent potential fire hazards."
"The new policy is the result of the increased volume of vaping and e-cigarette use inside and outside of the shipyard and the heightened awareness of fire prevention in and around critical infrastructure and equipment," the company said in an email.
Newport News Shipbuilding's policy also aligns with the Navy, a primary customer of the company, which instituted a policy prohibiting vaping devices and e-cigarettes on their ships.
"We recognize that this new policy will impact those who vape and use e-cigarettes. The company offers several no-cost and low-cost tobacco cessation programs to help employees stop smoking," added the company.
Doctors with Sentara are grateful to see this change being made. Since July, 33 cases of vaping-related lung injuries have been reported to the Virginia Department of Health. All doctors are now required to report any lung-related injury to the department.
These injuries and illnesses are still a mystery to doctors. There is no clear sign of what is causing the problems.
"It's very unnerving for us because we don’t exactly know what is wrong," explained Dr. Mary Baker, a pulmonologist with Sentara Health Care. "We just don’t know for sure what to attribute the current rise of injuries to."
It's why doctors are urging e-cigarette and vape users to quit now.
"This is like the wild wild west. It is heavily unregulated; nobody knows whats in it," said Dr. Baker. "The biggest misconception with vapes is that they are safe, and they're not."
If you need help quitting talk to your primary care doctor or visit the CDC's stop smoking page.