Mech mod kills Texas man

A 24-year-old Texas vaper has died after his device exploded in his face, causing severe injuries and triggering a fatal stroke. Although details are scare it appears that a battery explosion, probably caused by an incorrectly set up coil on an obsolete device, was responsible for the incident. Unfortunately the media are glossing over the details and presenting this as an issue with all e-cigarettes, which is likely to spark calls for new restrictions.

Reports say that William Brown had visited a Keller, TX vape shop to ask for advice on his mech mod. While using it in the car outside the shop the device exploded, and Brown was hit by several pieces of shrapnel from the fragmented casing and atomiser. One piece penetrated his left carotid artery, and it was that injury that caused a fatal stroke two days later.

It’s not clear whether Brown bought his device at the store where the accident occurred, or if he’d taken it there to ask for advice. It seems that Brown was new to vaping – his grandmother said he’d only just bought the device and was using it for the first time when it exploded. If true, this needs to be a wake-up call to the industry that it’s totally unacceptable to sell obsolete devices with no safety features – especially to people who don’t understand how they work.

Colorado considers indoor vape ban

Moves are underway in Colorado to extend the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act to cover reduced-harm products. If the measure passes it will make vaping illegal anywhere that smoking is already banned. As usual these days, it’s being argued that the change is a necessary response to the “teen vaping epidemic” that’s allegedly sweeping the USA.

The state’s House Health and Insurance Committee met last Wednesday to hear evidence on vaping, and was bombarded with anti-THR propaganda by a local doctor. Dr Grace Houser, a pulmonologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, claimed that e-cigarettes deliver similar lung carcinogens as tobacco cigarettes (they don’t) and are “not necessarily a safer alternative” to smoking (they are).

Harm reduction experts warn Massachusetts vape tax could boost smoking

Leading experts on tobacco harm reduction have criticised new proposals for a punitive vape tax being discussed by Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker. If passed, the state’s 40% tobacco excise duty would be extended to cover all vapour products – raising an estimated $6 million in extra revenue for the state, and narrowing the price difference between smoking and safer alternatives.

According to Dr Michael Siegel of Boston University’s medical school, said “Typically, the main reason why we use taxation in public health is as an incentive to change behaviors. The reason why we imposed cigarette taxes is to decrease cigarette consumption. So it doesn’t make sense to impose a tax which, as a fact, is going to lead to more people smoking.” The number of smokers in Massachusetts has been falling for years, so it’s unclear why Baker thinks more tobacco control measures are needed. Of course revenue from cigarette taxes has also been falling, and it’s likely that clawing back some money from ex-smokers is the real reason behind the tax.

More vaping restrictions threatened in Canada

Canada’s federal health minister spoke to the media about vaping last Tuesday, claiming she wants to see a “balanced and aggressive” approach to the advertising of vapour products. Once more the “teen vaping epidemic” was wheeled out to support her threats. Minister Ginette Taylor is proposing a ban on billboards and other outdoor ads for reduced-risk products, as well as a prohibition on advertising in any space where youths are allowed.

The proposals were welcomed by New Brunswick’s Lung Association whose director of health promotion claimed vaping has “set the anti-smoking campaign back 30 years.” The reality is that vaping has achieved as much as 30 years of anti-smoking campaigns, in a much shorter space of time.

High nicotine trend helps smokers – but annoys activists

One reason for the success of products like JUUL and MyBlu Intense is their high nicotine level, which makes them effective replacements for cigarettes. Now anti-vaping researchers are complaining of a “nicotine arms race”, apparently unaware that high-nicotine vapour products – already banned in the EU – are significantly more effective than any other quit-smoking method.

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