Exploding cigarette injures smoker in Vietnam

TN News

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A 29-year-old man suffered minor injuries when the cigarette he was smoking suddenly exploded. So far the production company has rejected accusations that it was at fault.

"It was around 12:30 p.m. when I was at the café of To Minh Huu in Dai Loc District," said the victim, Nguyen Xuan Ly, of Quang Nam Province's Que Son District.

"I ordered half a pack of cigarettes and began to smoke. When it came to half of the sixth cigarette, the fire went out and I had to light it again. It suddenly exploded and injured my two fingers on the right hand," he said.

The café owner Huu and nine others at the café confirmed the incident with Thanh Nien, saying the blast sounded like a gunshot.

Phan Nhu Thuy, one of the nine people who witnessed the incident, said he was sitting about 1 meter from Ly and two small pieces from the cigarette hit his neck and thigh, but they only caused minor injury.

Ly was taken to a local medical station to treat his injuries and he called Khatoco Khanh Hoa Cigarette Factory, which produced the cigarette.

Ly said three people from the factory met him and confirmed that the pack was their product. They made an appointment later that day but did not keep it, he said.

Meanwhile, Khatoco rejected that this was a production error and speculated that someone wanted to hurt its business.

"We are ready to work with concerned authorities. If the blast actually happened, it was caused by sabotage or unhealthy competition from some other company," said the company sales manager Le Tien Anh.

Anh added that there is another possibility that someone just wanted to get compensation and staged the incident.

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A similar incident happened in Indonesia last year. An Indonesian man lost six teeth when a cigarette exploded in his mouth.

Andi Susanto, a 31-year-old security guard, told Indonesian media that the Clas Mild cigarette exploded in his mouth while he was riding his motorcycle.

He said PT Nojorono Tobacco Indonesia, the maker of the brand of cigarette he was smoking, later offered to pay for his medical treatment, which reportedly cost 5 million rupiah (current US$553).

The cause of that explosion remains unknown.

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2010, the international standard for systematically monitoring adult tobacco use and tracking key tobacco control indicators, shows that currently around 15.3 million people actively smoke in Vietnam and an estimated 46.8 million are exposed to secondhand smoke.

Smoking caused around 40,000 deaths in Vietnam in 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated. This figure could surge to 70,000 by the end of 2030 if drastic measures are not taken, the UN agency warned.

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