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E-cigarette danger prompts FDA to push for regulations

By now, nearly everyone across the nation has heard about the horrifying accident involving a 3-year-old boy and an exploding e-cigarette that caused him to suffer second- and third-degree burns on his body. It’s because of this and other safety concerns that the Food and Drug Administration is increasing their efforts to regulate these potentially dangerous products before anyone else get hurts.

The FDA had originally planned to announce new regulations by April but missed the mark, adding to frustration from the not only consumers but people in the industry as well. Now, the goal is to have a draft of regulations by October, hopefully giving clearer guidelines for how the e-cigarettes can be manufactured in the future.

The biggest concern at the moment is that without guidelines from the FDA, e-cigarettes can be made anywhere, even with unsafe materials. But without any safety standards levied against manufacturers, their products could be putting people at risk of potential injury such as the case mentioned above. This could potentially cause problems for people taking civil action as well because it will be harder to prove negligence and product failure without industry standards to pair the product against.

In addition to the increasing rate of device malfunctions, there is a concern among doctors about the chemical reactions going on in such devices. Many doctors across the nation, including some here in California, have expressed their concerns in the past about whether such a process is harmful to humans. Some of the chemicals, such as those used to change the flavoring of the vapor and propylene glycol, have not yet been deemed safe by the FDA and may pose a safety risk to users.

If research does end of determining a safety risk down the road, manufacturers could be held liable for selling a dangerous product on the market. This will likely mean civil cases down the road, especially for consumers who have suffered injuries from these products.

Source: TIME, "Burned Toddler Shows Need for E-Cigarette Regulation," Eliza Gray, Sept. 25, 2013

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