Yesterday, the sole occupant of a house in Navan, County Meath, was killed by a blast caused by his attempt to open an electronic cigarette. It is the fifth such known explosion since the products were introduced onto the market in the Republic. In a phone call to the Tipperary-based supplier of the e-cigarette brand that is believed to have caused the blast, a sales representative was actively discouraging their purchase.
The liquid is found in the refill or filter section of an electronic cigarette - which allows the e-cig to produce its vapour.
"But c'mere," the supplier went on. "Those who don't break open the filter successfully to get at the lethal dose of cherry vapour to suck it out and die, they don't realise that the e-cigarettes are lethal death traps. They're wired funny! They just explode, a lot of them, if you try to open them, bringing apartment blocks and houses and offices along with them. You're only reading about the explosions that are proved to be caused by e-cigarettes. I'd say that the electronic cigarette industry is responsible for ninety percent of the construction work carried out in Ireland at the moment, as the construction workers have to rebuild homes that have been brought down in all these so-called gas explosions or electrical fires that the electronic cigarette industry won't acknowledge as caused by their products!"
When asked for further details, the sales rep baulked.
"If they knew I was telling you this, they'd have me killed," he said. Then he added helpfully: "Oh no! Oh God no! I have to run!"
Gunshots could then be heard over the line, followed by approaching footsteps. Then a different, deeper voice asked:
"Hello? Hello? Who is this?"
"Hi, I was just talking to your colleague there about the cherry flavoured e-cigarette refills, and whether they're available at any retailers in Dublin? I see you have coffee ones as well?"
"Yeah. The coffee flavoured ones. The... you know? I see they're available in the UK, from the UK site. But I was just wondering if they've come into Ireland at all, or maybe even I could pop up to the North?"
"Sorry...who am I talking to?"
"Oh - look - I've got a call coming in here - it might be the shop here in the shopping centre down the road!"
"We don't supply to any shops in Dublin. We have stands at various locations."
"No. Yes. No. I just - this is for a different brand. Sorry. I'll have to get back to you."
"None of the manufacturers can supply to the shops. Who is this?"
"Ehhh... Coffey. Martin...Coffey. Thank you! I'll get back to you."