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WHITE PLAINS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE

THE E-CIGARETTE “REVOLUTION”: MORE THAN WE BARGAINED FOR?

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?

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