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Sen. Blumenthal latest to call for e-cigs recall after surge in recent explosions

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal is joining Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in calling for an immediate recall of those brands of e-cigs reportedly involved in a new surge of explosions in recent months.   After hearing about a Stratford man named Manny Almodovar, 24, whose vaping device unexpectedly exploded while he was walking to his car after a long work day, Blumenthal held a press conference on Friday to double down on his anti-vaping stance.

"Anybody who is smoking an e-cigarette ought to be aware for the potential of it to explode in your mouth," Blumenthal stated at the Legislative Office Building last week.

The Connecticut politician has also written to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the agency to take charge of its new regulatory authority.  By beginning the recall process immediately, Blumenthal contends that the FDA could theoretically gather information that could then be used to establish higher safety standards for the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used in these types of devices.  Lithium-ion batteries were also the subject of another recall story earlier this year involving the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, and according to Blumenthal, the vaping industry should not get a free pass.

“E-cigarettes with faulty batteries pose not only a threat to individual safety, but to public safety – endangering all that work, live, commute, or even study in the vicinity of their users.  Earlier this year, a high school sophomore in Alabama was severely burned after a classmate’s e-cigarette exploded and he was struck in the face by the hot battery.  According to research from the FDA, there have been 134 reports of overheating, fires, and explosions of the devices in the U.S. between 2009 and January 2016.”
"I am troubled by (the FDA’s) lack of action to date, and also concerned that the e-cigarette industry is cutting corners and not taking appropriate steps to ensure the electrical safety of the products they are manufacturing and marketing."

Blumenthal has also written a letter to major U.S. airlines asking for a complete ban on e-cigs.  Currently, the devices can be carried on board an aircraft, but they are not allowed to be used during flight. Earlier this year the U.S. Department of Transportation implemented an e-cig ban from checked luggage.

Blumenthal recall efforts met with Republican opposition

Just last week, the soon-to-be Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer openly blasted e-cigs as “ticking time bombs” during another controversial press conference.  While the Democrats appear to be in favor of more regulation of the U.S. vaping industry, Republicans across the aisle are calling for a decrease in government oversight.

Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin and Representative Duncan Hunter of California have recently demanded that the FDA repeal the deeming regulations immediately.  As President-Elect Donald Trump begins to take office on January 20, many in the vaping community view Blumenthal’s demand for government recalls as a last-ditch effort by Democrats to save FDA e-cigs regulations which will very likely be repealed shortly after Inauguration Day.



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