Clear The Air News Tobacco Blog Rotating Header Image

January 17th, 2016:

Dad’s brush with death after exploding e-cigarette turned him into a human FIREBALL

A DAD-of-two cheated death after becoming a human fireball when his e-cigarette battery exploded while he was asleep.

CHEATING DEATH: Kevin revealed how he felt like a BLOW TORCH was being held to his face

CHEATING DEATH: Kevin revealed how he felt like a BLOW TORCH was being held to his face

Kevin Woodward, 30, revealed how he felt a “blow torch” was being held to his face when his Eleaf Istick blew up.

Kevin had put the vaping device, manufactured in China, on charge overnight when it caught fire.

He told how the blaze was “like a horror movie”.

And his three-year-old son Taylor James is also lucky to be alive after getting out of the bed just hours earlier.

Despite being in agony, Kevin frantically managed to extinguish the flames with a pillow before escaping the family home.

BURNS: It could take six months for Kevin's injuries to heal

BURNS: It could take six months for Kevin’s injuries to heal

Recalling the moment the blaze began, Kevin said:”I woke up and the right hand side of my face was on fire.

“It felt like someone was using a blowtorch on me.

“I didn’t have a clue what was happening – it was like a horror movie.

“My son had only got out of the bed to get into his own bed two hours before.

“When I realised what was happening I managed to slam a pillow on top of the fire, opened the windows and got the kids out of the house.”

Kevin, who lives in Northwich, Cheshire, was rushed to hospital and is now recovering at Whiston Hospital in Merseyside.

Docs have warned the scarring and redness will take six months to heal.

But fortunately the scrapyard worker is unlikely to need skin grafts.

Kevin added: “It’s terrifying to think what could have happened if the kids had been in bed as well at the time.

“The paramedics were shocked when they arrived and saw what had gone on.

“My fiancee couldn’t really speak when she saw my injuries – she has just been in tears all the time.”

Fiancee Jenny, 23, added: “I woke up and all I could hear was the sound of flames burning and Kevin screaming.

“The bedroom was thick with smoke.

“When I first saw Kevin’s injuries I was terrified.

“It just wasn’t my Kevin. I didn’t even want to look at him.”

Kevin – who also has a daughter Alexia Jordan, two, with Jenny – turned to e-cigs in a bid to boost his health about a year ago.

He added: “I was watching TV and then I went to bed at about 11pm.

“I had put it on charge the same as every day to keep it charged up.

“I woke up again at about 2.30am because Taylor was wriggling around in bed and that was when he thankfully got out of the bed.

“We are both lucky to be here.”

Survey Shows Majority of Hong Kong Citizens Believe Excessive Tax Increases Fuels Black Market Cigarettes

Results highlight the need to continue tackling illicit tobacco trade as a governing priority

Latest survey shows nearly nine in ten Hong Kongers see illicit cigarettes as a problem and believe Government should continue combating the problem, and the majority believes excessive tax increases contributes to the problem. Worryingly, overwhelming majorities of respondents believe that illegal cigarettes are easily accessible to underage children and adults alike. The survey highlights the need for the Government to continue tackling illicit tobacco trade as a priority before considering extreme tax and regulations such as 85% graphic health warnings which could make the problem worse.

“The message is clear. Hong Kongers want tackling black market cigarettes to be a Government priority. It harms the livelihood of grassroots hawkers, contributes to youth smoking, fuels criminal activities and disrupt social order”, said Jeff Herbert, former Senior Superintendent with the Hong Kong Police and Advisor of Hong Kong United Against Illicit Trade (HKUAIT).

He adds that excessive tax hikes and other extreme tobacco control measures, such as 85% graphic health warning labels, would only make the problem worse. “These measures will not necessarily drive smokers to quit smoking, but will certainly fuel the black market tobacco trade,” added Mr. Herbert.

“Nearly 90% of respondents see black market cigarettes stays as a problem for Hong Kong and believe Government should focus more on combating illicit cigarettes. 68% believe illicit cigarettes are easily accessible to children under 18,” said Janakan Ramalingam, Director of IPSOS. “Most Hong Kongers also see excessive tax increases, insufficient penalty and sophisticated criminal networks as contributing factors to the issue.”

With an aim to measure the public’s view on the illicit tobacco issues in Hong Kong, the survey, which was conducted by international research agency IPSOS and commissioned by HKUAIT, interviewed 1,007 Hong Kong adult citizens in December 2015. Similar surveys were conducted in 2013 and 2014.

The survey results echo the findings of the Asia-16: Illicit Tobacco Indicator 2014 study, conducted by Oxford Economics and published last year, which found that Hong Kong’s illicit cigarettes consumption rate stood at an alarming 28% of all cigarettes consumed in Hong Kong, costing the Government HK$2.5 billion in foregone excise tax revenues.

Ahead of the upcoming Budget Speech, HKUAIT has prepared a formal submission recommending measures to tackle the roots of the illicit trade problem.

Supporting organizations of the Hong Kong United Against Illicit Tobacco:

• Mega Hospitality International (MHI)
• Infinitum Technology Co., Ltd.
• Millennium Wells Ltd.
• Coalition of Hong Kong Newspaper and Magazine Merchants
• Hong Kong Newspaper Hawker Association
• Kampo Employment Agency
• Coalition on Tobacco Affairs (CTA)
• Philip Morris Asia Limited
• The Office of Wong Tai Sin District Councillor Lai Wing-Ho
• The Office of Legislative Councillor Paul Tse Wai-chun
• The Office of Tsuen Wan District Councillor Kot Siu-Yuen
• The Office of Tsuen Wan District Councillor Man Yu-Ming
• The Office of Tsuen Wan District Councillor Timmy Chow
• The Office of Eastern District Councillor Marcus Tse
• The Office of Kwun Tong District Councillor Poon Chun-yuen
• Tsuen Wan Kwai Ching District Women’s Association
• Hong Kong Shippers’ Council

Snuff out e-cig marketing to kids

Walk down any street in our city and you’re sure to see them: seductive neon signs advertising the latest flavors of electronic cigarettes, the newest trend in nicotine delivery.

“VAPE,” they plead. For those of us who remember the days of Joe Camel, it’s a startling throwback to a time when cigarette advertising targeted consumers of all ages, including kids.

The dirty secret is that e-cigarette companies are exploiting a loophole in laws that ban marketing tobacco products to kids. Which is why we are urging e-cig companies to take down this dangerous marketing — and calling on the federal government to investigate and regulate the e-cigarette industry immediately.

Throughout the 20th century, government stood by as the tobacco industry hooked millions of American youth on cigarettes. That dangerous neglect ultimately cost the nation trillions of dollars in health care costs while causing endless other tobacco-related harms.

Only in 1998, years after a few enterprising elected officials finally took the fight to the cigarette makers, did the tobacco companies and 46 state attorneys general sign a settlement agreement, which imposed hundreds of billions of
dollars in fines on the industry and promised to put an end to marketing to kids.

In fact, since the tobacco settlement, young people have been exposed to a flood of powerful and savvy anti-smoking marketing to counteract the peer pressure that still drives too many of them to smoke.

The era of Joe Camel was at last over, or so we thought. However, because the MSA does not apply to e-cigarettes, the tobacco companies are now pouring millions of dollars into e-cigarette advertising, including sponsoring events, using celebrity endorsements, promoting sweet flavors like “Cherry Crush” and “Mocha Mist” — and even using cartoons to hook our kids once again.

Sadly, these efforts are working. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 70% of American youth are exposed to e-cigarette advertising, and that is contributing to a surge in their popularity. E-cigarette consumption by high school students has soared in recent years, from 1.5% in 2011 to 13.4% in 2014, and among middle school students, it has more than tripled, from 1.1% in 2011 to 3.9% in 2014.

The industry line is that e-cigs are a safe alternative to smoking. While the full health effects of these addictive products is unknown, recent studies suggest a litany of public health risks.

Just last month, research from the Harvard School of Public Health found that a flavoring chemical linked to cases of severe respiratory disease exists in more than 75% of flavored electronic cigarettes. Moreover, the research about the damaging effects of nicotine on adolescent brain development is so clear that the Centers for Disease Control has declared, “no youth should use ecigarettes.”

We need urgent action to help unhook kids who are hooked — and prevent many more kids from getting hooked in the first place. We’re calling on the Federal Trade Commission to focus its efforts on how tobacco companies are marketing e-cigarettes to the next generation. But we still need to do more.

The Food and Drug Administration recently issued final proposed rules that would classify e-cigarettes as a “tobacco product” and allow the agency to mandate warning labels on e-cigarette packaging, bar purchase by anyone under 18 years old and limit marketing to youth.

Federal investigation and regulation of e-cigarettes is long overdue, but we can’t wait for Washington to act. That’s why we’re calling on companies to voluntarily apply the restrictions on cigarette marketing outlined in the tobacco settlement agreement to e-cigarettes — now.

We cannot allow history to repeat itself. We must protect our children from the clear and present danger posed by these new nicotine delivery devices.

Stringer is the controller of the City of New York. James is the city’s public advocate.

Turkmenistan becomes the first country to effectively ban tobacco products

The president of Turkmenistan has upped the ante on anti-smoking laws this week by banning the sale of all tobacco products in the country.

Shops in the country can apparently now face fines to the tune of $1,700 if caught selling cigarettes. Of course, this isn’t exactly stopping things in their tracks—already, the sale of cigarettes on the black market has risen to over $11 a pack, according to the news site Chrono-TM, who reports on affairs under the country’s repressive regime from outside.

Meanwhile, in-country media is under lockdown. Reporters Without Borders ranked Turkmenistan the third worst place for press freedom in the world, preceded only by North Korea and Eritrea. The country’s leader, Gurbanguly erdymukhamedow, appears to be taking those controls a step further this week with the smoking bans.

This isn’t the first time the subject of smoking has come up in the country—Berdymukhamedow is frequently seen in PR shoots riding a bicycle or doing similar healthy activities and has led an aggressive anti-smoking campaign country-wide. At the beginning of January, he removed Atadurd Odmanov, the head of the State Service for Protecting the Security of a Healthy Society, from his post as Colonel for failing to effectively coax Turkmenistan’s smokers to stub out.

Last July, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Turkmenistan had the lowest rate of smokers in the world, with only 8 percent of the population recorded as tobacco users. Yet, with such restrictive media laws inside the country, we’re a little skeptical about those figures.