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January 11th, 2016:

Man Suffers Third Degree Burns When E-Cigarette Battery Bursts

A Wise County father was taken to Parkland Hospital in Dallas with second and third degree burns after a battery from an e-cigarette caught fire in his pocket.

Jeremy Green, 34, thought e-cigarettes would be a healthier smoking alternative when he started using them a few years ago. “I’ve done it every day for a long time now never had an issue with it,” he said.

That was until Thursday when the lithium battery used to power his e-cig exploded in his pant’s pocket.

“I bent over to grab something and in the process of bending over the battery exploded,” he said. “It was like a blowtorch going off inside my pants… the most excruciating pain that I’ve felt ever,” said Green.

Green now struggles to walk and suffered extensive second and third degree burns from his hip to his knee where his jeans caught fire.

“I saw the flames the sparks so I grabbed the battery and pulled it out of my pants,” said Green.

He was treated in Parkland Hospital’s burn unit and faces a long recovery from a danger he said he wasn’t aware of.

An e-cigarette industry website said 30 smokers have experienced similar lithium battery explosions since 2012. But most of those were while the battery was on its charger.

Green’s incident has raised concerns about the safety of the batteries when they aren’t charging.

It’s a lesson Green learned the hard way. He’s home now but without medical insurance to pay his bills and unable to work for at least another month – times are tough.

“Right now I’m the sole provider for my family this is going to put me out of commission for a while,” said Green.

Several e-cigarette users have filed lawsuits over damage and injuries from exploding batterie. Green is considering following their lead.

Hookah Tobacco Smoking Session Delivers 25 Times the Toxicants of a Single Cigarette

Do you smoke hookah as opposed to cigarettes? You may be inhaling a lot of toxicants. Scientists have found that one hookah tobacco smoking sessions delivers 25 times the tar of a single cigarette.

In this latest study, the researchers reviewed 542 scientific articles relevant to cigarette and hookah smoking and then narrowed them down to 17 studies that included sufficient data to extract reliable estimates on toxicants inhaled when smoking cigarettes or hookah.

“Our results show that hookah tobacco smoking poses real health concerns and that it should be monitored more closely than it is currently,” said Brian A. Primack, one of the researchers, in a news release. “For example, hookah smoking was not included in the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey System questionnaire, which assesses cigarette smoking, chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes and many other forms of substance abuse.”

Comparing a hookah smoking session to smoking a single cigarette is a complex comparison to make. This is largely due to the differences in smoking patterns. While a frequent cigarette smoker may smoke 20 cigarettes per day, a frequent hookah smoker may only participant in a few hookah sessions each day.

“It’s not a perfect comparison because people smoke cigarettes and hookahs in very different ways,” said Primack. “We had to conduct our analysis this way-comparing a single hookah session to a single cigarette-because that’s the way the underlying studies tend to report findings. So, the estimates we found cannot tell us exactly what is ‘worse.’ But what they do suggest is that hookah smokers are exposed to a lot more toxicants than they probably realize.”

The findings are published in the journal Public Health Reports.

British American Tobacco and Stella Artois among 35 companies ordered to cough up £524m in unpaid taxes after Belgian ‘excess profit’ dodge is ruled illegal

• Stella Artois among 35 companies ordered to pay more than half a billion pounds in unpaid taxes
• European Commission competition officials said Belgium had wrongly given tax breaks worth 700million euros (£524m)
• Instead of paying tax on their full profits, companies were taxed on hypothetical profits of smaller companies

The makers of Stella Artois and Benson & Hedges were last night among 35 companies ordered to stump up more than half a billion pounds in unpaid taxes after deals they had with the Belgian government were ruled illegal.

European Commission competition officials said Belgium had wrongly given tax breaks worth 700million euros (£524m) under a scheme that helped multinationals reduce their taxable profits by up to 90 per cent.

British American Tobacco, which makes Dunhill, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall, and brewer AB Inbev, whose brands include Budweiser, Corona and Beck’s, were named as among the companies that had benefited.

Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: ‘The European Commission has concluded that selective tax advantages granted by Belgium under its “excess profit” tax scheme are illegal under EU state aid rules.

‘Belgium has given a select number of multinationals substantial tax advantages that break EU state aid rules. It distorts competition on the merits by putting smaller competitors who are not multinational on an unequal footing.’

Under the tax scheme, launched in 2005 with the tagline ‘Only in Belgium’, international companies were encouraged to invest in the country with the promise they could cut their tax bills.

Instead of paying tax on their full profits, companies were taxed on hypothetical profits of what it was estimated a smaller company without their international scale and global brand recognition would earn.

The EU tax investigation follows those looking at Apple’s deals with Ireland, coffee-shop chain Starbucks’s arrangements with The Netherlands and McDonald’s with Luxembourg.

In October, the Commission decided that Luxembourg and the Netherlands had granted unfair tax advantages to Fiat and Starbucks, respectively, and ordered the firms to repay some taxes.

EU rules say some tax breaks offered to big companies breach the bloc’s rules on state aid, as they amount to a government subsidy that is aimed at attracting multinationals to do business in certain countries.

Belgian finance minister Johan Van Overtveldt yesterday said: ‘At this point we do not exclude any option. This also applies to the possibility of an appeal against the decision.’

An AB Inbev spokesman said: ‘While we are disappointed by this decision, we remain confident that our tax rulings are in full compliance with the EU jurisprudence on state aid and that we have always complied with Belgian and international tax provisions.

‘We will consider our options, taking into account the reactions by the Belgian authorities.’

British American Tobacco did not respond to a request for comment.

Dates confirmed for new tobacco restrictions

The Department of Health has confirmed the dates for the introduction of stricter controls on tobacco packaging, pack sizes and electronic cigarettes.

The new regulations will come into force in May 2016 – from May 2017 retailers cannot sell products that do not comply.

The new regulations include:
• a minimum pack size of 20 cigarettes
• a minimum weight of 30g for roll-your-own tobacco
• the size of health warnings (text and photograph) to cover 65% of the front and back of pack (previously 30% on front and 40% on back of pack)
• a ban on cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco containing characterising flavours such as menthol is also being introduced from May 2020
• new regulations coming into force in November 2016 for e-cigarettes which require the products to carry a health warning. The sell through period for retailers with existing stock will be a period of six months to May 2017

Commenting on the changes, Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive James Lowman said: “The introduction of these regulations alongside the implementation of the plain packaging rules marks a significant change for retailers that will be disruptive to their businesses.

“Government must focus its attention on tackling the harmful illicit trade in tobacco through stricter border checks and better enforcement in local areas. We are concerned that the introduction of the Tobacco Products Directive regulations alongside plain packaging will fuel the illicit trade, and urge the government to publish further details of plans to introduce a ‘track and trace’ system for legitimate tobacco products.”

227 famous people who died because they smoked…

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