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Delaware man sues vape shop over battery explosion

A man from Wilmington, Delaware is suing a vape shop which, he claims, sold him a dangerous product. Charles Hobbs bought an LG 18650 battery from his local vendor last March; in October it caught fire in his pocket, causing serious burns. Now he’s found a lawyer and is claiming damages from the shop.

Technically Hobbs’s lawyer could go after everyone involved in the sale.

The basis of Hobbs’s case is that the battery didn’t carry a warning that it might explode, and the shop didn’t warn him. A legal expert from Widener University’s law school said, “just by you selling it to me, there is this implied warranty that it’s good for its intended purpose.” This argument would carry more weight if the intended purpose of a battery was to be carried loose in a pocket; it seems to have worked safely enough in Hobbs’s mod for six months.

Unfortunately Delaware law allows any part of the supply chain of an allegedly dangerous product to be sued. Technically Hobbs’s lawyer could go after everyone involved in the sale, importation and manufacture of the battery. So far, though, only the shop has been named.

“Gateway” theory busted again

The largest ever study of teen vaping in the UK has come to an unsurprising conclusion about the notorious “gateway effect” – there’s no evidence that it exists. A team led by Professor Linda Bauld, of Stirling University, looked at five separate surveys of teenagers conducted between 2015 and 2017. This is significant because while the survey covers a three-year period – so should be able to spot emerging trends – all the data is relatively recent.

Young people who don’t smoke almost never take up vaping.

As expected from all the previous research on this topic, Bauld and her researchers found that while a significant number of teens experiment with vapour products this is not really a worry. Specifically, young people who don’t smoke almost never take up vaping – the highest percentage of never-smokers who vape regularly was under 0.5%, and most of the surveys put the rate at around 0.1%.

Most importantly, Bauld found that the teenage smoking rate is continuing to fall. The “gateway” theory’s credibility relies on it rising, and this has not happened in any country where vaping has become popular.

Outrage at “vaping toddler” fake

A controversial marketing executive caused internet outrage this week when he released graphics of a fake “My First Vape” product allegedly marketed to toddlers. Adam Padilla, co-founder of New York ad agency BrandFire, posted elaborately mocked-up images of a mod-shaped bubble toy on his Facebook page, with the comment, “Damn they got vapes for babies now”.

Has pharma company hired Padilla to generate negative publicity about vaping?

Padilla was already notorious for a previous fake toy stunt, when he created images of a Fisher Price Happy Hour playset”. He claims that the latest incident was an attempt to show the power of fake news. However, vaping advocates quickly discovered that BrandFire has previously done work for Pfizer, who sell the anti-smoking drug Chantix. This led to speculation that the pharma company had hired Padilla to generate negative publicity about vaping in an attempt to add to the pressure e-cigs are facing in the USA. While this would be very hard to prove, many vapers are likely to believe it.

Vaping goes mainstream at BAT

British American Tobacco, one of the world’s largest cigarette manufacturers, has announced that it has reorganised its management structure to make e-cigarettes and other reduced-harm products a core part of its business. Like other tobacco companies, BAT was initially sceptical about vaping, and later released a few products under different brand names. Now, following their purchase of Reynolds American, they are planning for a rapid growth in “next generation” products. As well as vapour products, BAT are also trialling a heat not birn device similar to PMI’s successful iQOS.

UK teen opens vape shop

A 16-year-old girl from County Durham has become the UK’s youngest vape vendor. Lily Harvey was expelled from school in January for wearing earrings, but quickly found a job in a nearby e-cigarette factory. This gave her the idea of opening her own vape shop, so she saved up her wages and money earned from a weekend job at a local riding centre. Three weeks ago she opened for business, and according to her parents she has already helped around 80 people quit smoking.

Because Lily is only 16 she can’t legally buy her own stock; sales of e-cigarettes to under-18s are prohibited in the UK, even if it’s a business order. Luckily her parents are supportive and buy stock for her.

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