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The E-Cigarette “Revolution”: More Than We Bargained For?

Posted by Andrew J. Barovick | Jul 15, 2013 | 0 Comments

Electronic cigarettes, known as “e-cigarettes,” are all over the news.  Some laud their use in helping long-time smokers quit . Others, particularly in the healthcare community, urge consumers to be aware that despite the claimed benefits of using e-cigarettes, they still harm the lungs of users . However, as the article notes, “[t]he medical profession and scientists generally agree that e-cigarettes, if they do pose any dangers to health, are much less harmful than tobacco smoking.”

But what if your e-cigarette does more than just emit pleasant, nicotine-infused water vapor?  What if one of the necessary accoutrements exploded and burned you?  (There are lots of them, you would find, if you pulled up the VapCigs website on your browser.)  While the VapCigs site promises to deliver “everything you need to join the e-cigarette revolution,” readers probably do not envision actual instruments of war, such as flamethrowers.

But perhaps they will from now on. Consider the case of a California couple.  While driving to the airport, Jennifer Ries was charging her e-cigarette's rechargeable battery, until a strange smell alerted her to liquid dripping from the same battery, according to CBSlocal.com . When she tried to unscrew it, it shot flames toward her causing second degree burns to her lower body.  Ms. Reis and her husband, who was driving,  have sued the retailer of the VapCigs and its equipment, as well as the manufacturer, VapCigs.  And their attorney, Gregory Bentley, has some issues with the e-cigarette industry, and the FDA. He says that “[r]ight now…the FDA is regulating this whole industry as a tobacco product, so all of the component parts, including the battery, the charger, and so on, are not tested for safety.”

Why not, FDA?

About the Author

Andrew J. Barovick

Mr. Barovick is a graduate of Columbia College and Cardozo School of Law. He began his legal career at the Queens District Attorney’s Office, where he tried over 20 felonies to verdict, and argued an equal number of appeals before the Appellate Division, Second Department, the New York Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

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REPRESENTATIVE VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS:

$7.9 million dollars for infant client who suffered severe brain injuries due to post- delivery medical malpractice.

$500,000 wrongful death/medical malpractice settlement on behalf of patient brought to hospital emergency room with serious injuries who suffered complications while unmonitored and died.

$425,000 wrongful death/medical malpractice settlement during trial on behalf of senior hospital patient whose surgeon failed to timely address her worsening symptoms, resulting in her death.

$250,000 to young man whose physician failed to diagnose an impending torsion testicle, causing the loss of the affected testicle.

$200,000 to young mother whose OB/GYN failed to timely diagnose and treat her ectopic pregnancy, resulting in excruciating, long-term pain and the need for surgery to address the ectopic pregnancy once it was diagnosed.

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