It seems even when something isn't the direct fault of the e-cigarette industry, it'll end up being blamed anyway. Minnesota health officials have warned about the dangers of concentrated liquid nicotine found in e-cigarettes and the number of children showing e-cigarette related nicotine poisonings. Figures released by the Minnesota Department of Health showed an increase in the number of cases from 46 in 2013 to 62 last year. Officials blame e-cigarettes for this but why have a go at the industry?
The figures relate to children aged five or younger so this is hardly the case of youngsters getting their hands on e-cigarettes and vaping. The incidents being referred to are actually what are commonly called, accidents. People leaving their e-liquid bottles unattended and attracting the attention of curious children leading to accidents taking place. It is not the fault of the e-cigarette industry if people can't look after the product properly. If a child drinks a bottle of beer that's left on he table and gets alcohol poisoning, is that the fault of the alcohol industry?
Of course incidents like this just give more ammunition to critics of the e-cigarette industry, especially where children are concerned. They love to talk about another generation being addicted to nicotine and adore commenting about how the industry spends its time marketing their product to youngsters. Health leaders can't stop themselves claiming that the e-juice used in e-cigarettes is more toxic than people realize but struggle to come up with the smoking gun that will confirm what they are alleging. They claim that for a 22 pound child, 1/15 of a teaspoon is a lethal dose. State Health Commissioner Dr Ed Ehlinger says: "This is not a safe product for kids." Well we all know that and it's not really designed to be used by a child that only weights 22 pounds is it?
The health officials can't stop themselves from scaremongering comments yet the fact is that no Minnesotan is known to have died from ingesting e-cigarette liquid. Earlier this year a new law in the state declared that e-juices have to be sold in child-resistant packaging. Even Ehlinger admits this is a "big step to keep kids from accidentally ingesting these potentially fatal e-liquids." He had to fit the word 'fatal' in didn't he. But surely the fact liquids are being produced in child-resistant packaging again absolves the e-cigarette industry of any blame for such poisonings? Ehlinger added: "But parents should still use caution and store the products out of the reach of children.” Well that's the most sensible thing he's said and hits the hammer on the head. It's not the fault of the e-cigarette industry but parents who can't look after the product and end up putting others at risk.
The case of Rachel Noah shows how it's accidents that are happening not negligence by the e-cigarette industry. Noah says a vial containing e-juice either fell off a shelf or her year-and-a-half daughter managed to pull it down. When she turned round, her child was drinking from the vial and became ill but recovered later. She was unhappy that the liquid wasn't in a tamper resistant container but James Koplos who owns the Vapes Pro store on St Paul's West Side says all the containers he sells are always tamper-resistant and he's never had a customer report an incident of poisoning but commented; "Once the juice leaves our store there isn’t anything we can do to control that. “I never want this to get in the hands of children at all or anyone under the age of 18.” Wise comments indeed and more proof that the industry isn't aiming its product at youngsters, yet the criticisms continue. Do they ever even listen to the views of the industry itself?