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January 13th, 2016:

E-Cig Explosion Almost Paralyzes Tennessee Man

So why do E-cigarettes have such a passionate following, when it seems that every week we learn of more and more exploding batteries and injuries? As a dangerous and defective products attorney, it is my duty to inform the public of potential dangers in using certain products and how to avoid injury. Although my last article on vaporizers and e-cigarettes caused a bit of an uproar, and more than a bit of hate mail, I believe it’s important to continue to advocate for consumer’s rights, and to ensure that these devices are made safely and distributed according to law, and are consumer-friendly, with proper warnings. It seems to me that the vape industry is full of individuals and companies who want to take short cuts not normally allowed American manufacturers, distributors or retailers. With batteries made in China and sold without any labeling and no warnings, and e-cigarettes sold with no warnings or proper instructions for safety, we have an explosive situation on our hands, and in our pockets, and in our cars, and occasionally in our faces. That’s why this case below is especially troubling.

Cordero Caples, a 29 year old man from Tennessee is in the hospital after an electronic cigarette exploded in his face this past Friday. Mr. Caples suffered a fractured vertebra, facial fractures, and at least one missing tooth in the sudden explosion. And to make matters worse? The injuries he sustained from the explosion may leave him permanently paralyzed, never to walk again.

Although no official reports about what caused the explosion have been released, a smoke shop owner in Memphis was shown a photo of the e-cigarette Caples was using and noticed that the battery seemed odd. “This is way too powerful to power this” said Mary Grace Burns, owner of the smoke shop. “Way too hot of a battery. You can have a way-too-high amped battery in there or something like that could easily misfire and cause something like that. It’s operator error though.”

Caples has been in surgery since Sunday, and his condition has been upgraded to “fair.”

“Any sudden move can cause him to be in a paralyzed state, and that is something we don’t want. He’s going to need 24-hour care for a while and constant monitoring from family and friends and loved ones. You know it is heart breaking but we’re going to bond together” said Caples’ sister.

So even without the official word on why the e-cigarette exploded, it looks like it may be due to faulty battery, or a battery in the device that was much too powerful for Caples’ cigarette. In any event, shouldn’t manufacturers be aware that these higher amped batteries are being used in their products? Shouldn’t we be warning users not to tamper with batteries, or upgrade devices with such dangerous power sources? How are we as consumer to know what kind of battery goes in these devices without the company alerting us as to the dangers of such use, or misuse? If a company makes a product, it’s up to them to tell us how to properly use it, and understand how it may be used after purchase.

E-cigarettes have gone unregulated and the sellers of the components have been unaccountable for too long; it’s time we hold them responsible for the products they produce and sell.

And you know, I would feel this way about any product sold in this country where we supposedly have the best consumer protection. If the product is defective and harms someone, the companies and individuals who are responsible must be held accountable, even if the product is as popular as the e-cigs.

And, in my last post on this subject, I asked those who commented most strongly to present to me some evidence supporting the safety of e-cigarettes, or even how they were healthier than commercial cigarettes, but I got not responses. I wonder if those who were so passionate in their condemnation of my last post on this subject are really shills of the e-cigarette or tobacco industry?

Panel’s questions will delay large cigarette packet warnings, says expert

An Indian parliamentary panel has raised questions about whether the health ministry’s move to increase the size of health warnings on cigarette packaging would reduce tobacco use, Reuters has reported.

The panel also raised concerns about whether this move would affect the livelihood of farmers who cultivated tobacco or increase its illegal trade and asked the ministry to state which tobacco ingredients were harmful and could cause cancer and how many cancers were linked to tobacco use.

Health warnings must currently cover 40% of one side of the packet or 20% of both sides. The new recommendation, announced in October 2014, said that health warnings would have to cover 85% of each side of the packet, of which 25% would be text and 60% would be a picture. It was meant to be enforced from 1 April 2015, but implementation was delayed until 1 April 2016.

Pankaj Chaturvedi, a surgical oncologist at Tata Memorial Hospital and a member of the committee that recommended larger graphical warnings, told The BMJ that the 32 questions raised by the panel would only serve to further delay the ministry’s proposal. He said that the purpose of the panel was to monitor various legislations and suggest any possible concerns to the appropriate ministry—not to stop a public health move that would prevent millions of youngsters from picking up a habit that kills every third user prematurely.

Previous studies have estimated that in 2012 about 110.2 million Indians smoked cigarettes and that 18.3% of cancers among women and 42% of cancers among men in the country were linked to tobacco usage.

Chaturvedi said that the list of questions echoed the same illogical concerns that were expressed publicly by an earlier panel, which included members directly involved in the tobacco industry. “A picture can speak a thousand words,” Chaturvedi said, stressing the importance of pictorial warnings as the most effective way to educate people, many of whom could be ignorant, illiterate or partially literate, or very young.

He cited the example of Australia, which has gone a step further to reduce tobacco use by allowing only plain packaging of cigarettes. “The expert committee constituted by ministry of health deliberated on several aspects of pictorial warnings—type of picture, size of picture, international best practices, public opinion, field research, etc—before their final recommendation,” he said.