FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
April 3, 2014
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The CDC on Thursday released a new report on electronic cigarette poisonings, and at first blush the topline finding is quite a shocker: Calls to poison control centers involving e-cigarette liquids skyrocketed from one per month in September 2010 to 215 this past February.

"In the Hands of Babes, E-Cigarettes Can Be Deadly," proclaimed a Time story on the report. Spooky, right?

I'm a little more skeptical about the exact scope of the danger though, and whether this truly is a budding epidemic or simply hyperbolic fearmongering. For one, the huge spike in poison control calls corresponds to a huge spike in e-cig sales. Companies sold 750,000 e-cigs in 2010, a total that ballooned to 2.5 million one year later and that has only grown since then. The industry is now projected to see sales of $2.75 billion this year. Certainly a dramatic rise in poisonings is concerning, but the magnitude of that change is a little skewed because the baseline was basically nil.

More to the point, though e-liquids can be quite poisonous to small children, so, too, can conventional cigarettes. According to the CDC, the latter still comprise almost six in ten poison control calls involving either of the two types. And as for the supposed problem of e-cigarettes luring young people to try other, more dangerous drugs, the research is spotty at best.

The CDC and others are right to raise red flags about the dangers of e-cigarettes. But the danger may not be the product itself, but rather the fact that they're relatively new and so far unregulated at the federal level. Jon Terbush

9:23 a.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Donald Trump swears he isn't trying to start any "conspiracy theories," but he couldn't help but wonder Tuesday morning on Fox & Friends whether anyone else noticed something fishy about his microphone at Monday night's presidential debate. "I had a problem with a microphone that didn't work. My microphone was terrible. I wonder, was it set up that way on purpose? My microphone — in the room they couldn't hear me, you know, it was going on and off. Which isn't exactly great. I wonder if it was set up that way, but it was terrible," Trump said, noting his microphone was "crackling" and Clinton "didn't have that problem."

And, just in case you were wondering, that sound you may have heard during the debate was not Trump sniffling. Nope — that too was all the fault of a defective mic, he said. "No, no sniffles," Trump said. "No, you know, the mic was very bad, but maybe it was good enough to hear breathing, but there was no sniffles." Becca Stanek

8:54 a.m. ET

If Hillary Clinton wants to bring up Donald Trump's negative remarks about former Miss Universe Alicia Machado at the next presidential debate, she'll have some new material to pull from. In an interview with Fox & Friends on Tuesday morning — hours after Clinton called Trump out for allegedly dubbing Machado "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping" — Trump took another swing at Machado, this time calling her the "worst we ever had, the worst, the absolute worst."

"She was the winner and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem," Trump said. "We had to — we had a real problem, not only that, her attitude, and we had a real problem with her. So, Hillary went back into the years and she found this — this was many years ago — and found the girl and talked about her like she was Mother Teresa. It wasn't quite that way, but that's okay, Hillary has to do what she has to do."

Watch Trump's latest remarks on Machado, below. Becca Stanek

8:21 a.m. ET

In Rudy Giuliani's opinion, Donald Trump's first presidential debate should be his last. Unless, that is, Trump could secure a promise that the next debate moderator would stick to being just that: a moderator. "If I were Donald Trump, I wouldn't participate in another debate unless I was promised the journalist would act like a journalist, and not an ignorant fact check," the former New York City mayor said Monday night after the debate, per a video from the spin room posted by Bloomberg.

Giuliani was particularly incensed by moderator Lester Holt's "interference" in the discussion about whether "stop and frisk," a program Trump advocated for, was "unconstitutional." "If journalism has ethics, Lester Holt acted unethically in interfering in an area of law he knows nothing about," Giuliani said, insisting Trump's characterization of the case "was correct" because although a circuit court judge ruled stop and frisk unconstitutional, a higher court didn't rule on the matter.

Trump, however, didn't seem to share Giuliani's critiques. The Hill reported Trump "praised Holt immediately after the debate."

Watch Giuliani's full take below, starting at the 16:10 mark. Becca Stanek

7:39 a.m. ET
Pool/Getty Images

One aspect of the debate Donald Trump didn't excel at? Waiting his turn. Vox tallied up the total number of interruptions in the first presidential debate Monday night and found Trump interrupted Hillary Clinton a total of 51 times. During the first 26 minutes of the debate alone, Vox reported Trump had jumped in while Clinton was talking 25 times.

Some of Trump's interruptions were brief interjections, like when he denied Clinton's claim he'd called climate change a hoax. Other times, Trump's interruptions overtook Clinton entirely, forcing her to cede the floor or requiring debate moderator Lester Holt to remind Trump that it was Clinton's turn.

Clinton, on the other hand, interrupted Trump just 17 times. Becca Stanek

6:12 a.m. ET

The first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was on Monday night, and on Monday night's Daily Show, Trevor Noah breathed a sigh of relief. "The waiting is finally over," he said. "After a year of subtweeting each other on the campaign trail," he said, "finally, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton went head-to-head." After all the debate prep and head games, the debate lived up to expectations, getting pretty fiery at some points, with Clinton and Trump just shouting over each other. "Welcome to the real-life version of Twitter, people," Noah said. "You know that at that point, Lester Holt wasn't even moderating anymore, he was just eating popcorn with everyone else."

Noah spent most of his instant recap focused on Trump, and some Trump statements really stood out, like when Trump appeared to brag about avoiding taxes, saying paying zero federal income tax "makes me smart." "I'm sorry, what?" Noah said. "Dude, taxes are a responsibility not something to evade. You know, you're running to be the No. 1 citizen of a country, you shouldn't brag about ways you found to get around the rules.... You know who else found a way around the rules? O.J. No one likes him."

When it came to race relations, Noah said, "this might have been my favorite part of the evening — it turns out, the only way Donald Trump can truly relate to any issue in America is by whether or not he has a property in that place." After playing a few clips, he said, "Donald Trump relates to America like he's playing a game of Monopoly — 'Yeah, I have that street, I know what it's like there.'"

Finally, Noah pointed to Trump's Achilles heel, "a little thing I like to call Truth Trump." Whenever Trump speaks, Noah explained, "every now and again, Truth Trump comes out — he can't control it." He used as an example Trump saying he doesn't run negative ads "because he's trying to save the money — not because he's a good person," as he should have said. Noah demonstrated by acting out a split personality, Gollum-like: "'Truth Trump, shut up!' 'I can't control it. I need to build a wall in my mind folks!'" He arched an eyebrow at Trump's sniffing, but said "we didn't watch the debate just to make jokes about it. We wanted to do our part to keep the candidates honest." Still, when he asked Senior Campaign Correspondent Roy Wood Jr. to fact-check the debate, things got out of control fast. Watch below. Peter Weber

4:34 a.m. ET

Monday night's presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was a major television event, and "there's pressure to appear to know what's going on, to be informed," Jimmy Kimmel said on Monday's Kimmel Live. So on Monday afternoon, Kimmel sent a crew out on the street to ask people what they thought about the debate. "There's no way any of these people should have an opinion on what happened," Kimmel said, since the interviews were conducted hours before the debate began, "but did that stop them from weighing in? Oh no it did not." As always with Kimmel's "Lie Witness News" segments, it is truly impressive to watch people brazenly discuss fictional events in great detail, but the interviewer's dad-shaming at the end will leave a mark. Watch below. Peter Weber

4:14 a.m. ET

Before Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took the stage at Hofstra University on Monday night, "there was a lot of what seemed like spin about how little Trump was preparing for the debate," Seth Meyers said on Monday's Late Night, "and it turns out, he really didn't." Before the debate, "it seemed like the Trump campaign was setting expectations so low, all he would have to do is stand still for 90 minutes and he would be the winner, but in the days leading up to the debate, they were actually worried that bar may be too high."

If Trump was unprepared for the debate, "as is her style, Hillary was overprepared with one of her patented lukewarm zingers," Meyers said, referring to "trumped-up trickle down." He referenced that again when he compared Clinton to an aunt dancing to Beyoncé at a wedding. But Clinton did have to contend with a "double standard heading into the debate," he added, summarizing pre-debate advice from MSNBC: "Basically, her tasks look like advice you'd give a secretary before a job interview in 1950 — Smile and let them see you're a dynamite gal! — meanwhile, his sounds like advice you'd give a murderer at a parole hearing: They need to believe you won't kill again." Watch below for Meyers' recap of the more standout moments of the debate, including Trump's water-drinking, plea for help from Sean Hannity, and tripping over race relations. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads