Demystifying Medicine One Month at a Time


Congratulations to the Simpsons on achieving 500 episodes. Twenty-three years is multiple generations in TV time.

Like a bit from the show [maybe an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon, a Homer invention, or a plot attempt against Fat Tony], there was a news story last week that bears further comment.

I’ve written before about my awakening to the phenomenon know as e-cigarettes. Just including that very word in this blog post insures I will be flooded with spam before the day is out.

A man in Florida (where else?) was smoking an e-cigarette when it blew up in his mouth.

According to the AP story, the explosion

[left] him in a hospital with severe burns, missing his front teeth and a chunk of his tongue…[The patient] was at…home…when the device exploded, leaving behind burned carpet, chair cushions, pictures and office equipment.


A rather steep price to pay for quelling an oral fixation.

The debate about these things swirls around their efficacy as tools to quit smoking vs. their safety (or lack thereof) as nicotine-delivery machines.

The FDA attempted to regulate e-cigarettes as drug delivery devices, and on that basis block their import (from China). Manufacturers sued, and a federal district court issued a stay on the reasoning that e-cigarettes are tobacco products and not medical devices. A Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling, thereby blocking the FDA from blocking importation.

Got that?

Now we have a flood of these things on the market, and all kinds of claims about them.

If you read the comments at the bottom of the CBS story I linked to above, you’ll get a flavor for it. Some see this news story as nothing more than a propaganda piece to help the FDA in its attempt to ban e-cigarettes. Other commenters share their beliefs about how effectively e-cigarettes helped them quit smoking.

But the best comment was this:

. . . he should have smoked a doob. A seed or two might pop, but he wouldn’t have ended up in the hospital.


1 Comment

  1. Pranab

    Another Simpson loving doctor! Well, where I come from, we are a rare breed. 😛

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