Tragic news was released from Florida this week that a man who died on May 5, 2018, suffered a fatal injury from an e-cigarette explosion. The man died from a “projectile wound to the head,” and also suffered thermal burns on 80% of his body. Tallmadge D’Elia, who reportedly worked as a technical supervisor at CNBC in New Jersey, was only thirty-eight (38) years old.
In response to growing concern about e-cigarette use by children and teens, the FDA has intensified its enforcement of illegal sales and advertising of new electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) such as Juul, myblu and KandyPens.
The FDA has stated it is committed to decreasing smoking and nicotine addiction in youth under the age of 18 and has launched several initiates to achieve this goal. One is a multi-level plan to reduce nicotine in traditional, combustible cigarettes. This plan, which seems long overdue, does not appear to include reduction in nicotine available via ENDS devices, despite that some deliver as much or more nicotine than cigarettes. The FDA also neglected to extend its ban on the use of sweet, fruity flavors that appeal to children and teens. Juul, for example, comes with fruit-flavored liquid pods containing the nicotine equivalent of a full pack of cigarettes.
The Tobacco Advertising Collection at the Smithsonian Institution contains more than 30,000 examples of cigarette advertising by tobacco companies. Entitled “Not a Cough in a Carload: Images from the Tobacco Industry Campaign to Hide the Hazards of Smoking,” the twelve-part archive series, created by Dr. Robert Jacklar, emphasizes the deceptive advertising practices used to convince people that tobacco products were safe.
Dr. Jacklar, who treated many patients for cigarette-related illnesses and later lost his mother to cancer, is now creating a similar collection—this time with e-cigarette advertisements. According to Jacklar there is little difference in the messaging. He has reportedly collected 13,000 examples of deceptive e-cigarette ads and is vocally adamant that the industry is ignoring all of the agreements and bans that were agreed to by tobacco companies. Referencing the new Juul product as an example, Jacklar was quoted in Smithsonian to say, ““Very clearly, they do the same damn thing today as they did then. The messaging is very subtle, very carefully crafted…to appeal to adolescents.”
In late March, several public health organizations and medical groups filed suit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its decision to delay FDA review of e-cigarette products. The controversial decision pushed the deadline for e-cigarette product approval applications to August of 2022 relieving the vaping industry of strict compliance under FDA product standards.
The plaintiffs argue the decision was improper under law, puts public health at risk, and leaves young people vulnerable to the negative effects of nicotine and tobacco addiction. The suit also claims the FDA’s decision prevents access to scientific information about the health effects of vaping.
The Juul looks like a computer flash drive but it is a vaping device. It’s sleek, it’s discrete, and it’s becoming very popular with underage nicotine users.
Juul, the company that manufactures the device, states it targets only adults; however, the nicotine liquid flavors include “virginia tobacco, cool mint, fruit medley, creme brulee & mango,” which are arguably appealing to children. “Juuling,” has become a disturbing trend in schools and is increasing at an alarming rate. More than one school, including an entire Pennsylvania school district, have banned flash drives in an effort to prevent juuling by underage school children.
A study from the U.K. shows that vaping increases exposure to bacteria that causes pneumonia which may increase the risk of contracting the potentially lethal lung disease. The study by Queen Mary University of London showed that vaping increases production of a receptor that captures pneumonia bacteria in the nose, throat, and lungs. According to senior author Jonathan Grigg, MD, there is “growing evidence that inhaling e-cigarette vapor has the potential to damage health.”
If you believe the hype from the vape industry, e-cigarettes don’t explode; and if they do, it is a rarity caused by the user. This story has been disproved time and again. Just read some of our other e-cigarette blogs.
What the vaping industry doesn’t tell you is that when an e-cigarette does catch on fire (as we often see in the news), the consequences can be severe and life-altering.
Picture Denver International Airport (DIA), January 30, 2018. DIA reported a record number of passengers in 2017, servicing nearly 53 million people; up to 19,000 per day. Now picture a crowded security line. This was the scene when a passenger bag that had just passed the x-ray machine burst into flames. The fire sent people running and shut down security scanning and inter-terminal train service for an unspecified time. Luckily airport personnel were able to extinguish the flames with a nearby fire extinguisher.
The cause of the fire and ensuing panic? An e-cigarette.
Teens who vape have triple the amount of five different toxins in urine tests than teens who never vape. Pediatric researchers at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), identified six toxins in the urine of vaping teens including benzene, ethylene oxide, acrylonitrile, acrolein, and acrylamide; some of which are known to cause cancer.
These toxins are called Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs. Acrylonitrile, a known carcinogen, shows in even higher concentrations with teens who use fruit-flavored liquids while vaping. The toxins appear in teens who use both nicotine, and non-nicotine liquids.
Contrary to the belief that e-cigarettes are safe, Dr. Mark Rubenstein, Professor of Pediatrics at UCSF, stated “Based on these results, if the teenagers kept using these products over the years, we believe it could be dangerous.”
A new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medical shows there is “substantial” evidence that e-cigarette use increases the risk of transitioning to smoking conventional cigarettes.
This is of particular concern for teens who are in the group with the highest number of users. This “gateway” effect should concern parents and users alike who believe e-cigarettes are different because they lack combustible elements.
A lithium battery explosion shut down MCO International Airport in Orlando, Florida for several hours on Friday, November 10, 2017. The battery exploded in a backpack carrying a traveler’s camera. Startled would-be passengers scattered as security personnel, mistakenly believing the noise was a gun shot, reportedly told them to take cover.
Many people rushed back through security checkpoints. Others hid in nearby restaurants and stores. One woman reported that she and other travelers huddled on the floor of a restaurant for 20 minutes, unsure whether the noise was a gun shot. Travelers took to social media to report the chaos and ensuing confusion as well as to seek information.