The 18-year-old passed away after being admitted with breathing problems, which doctors suspect were caused by his vaping habit. Credit: Vaping360/Flickr.

A preliminary criminal investigation into manslaughter and the violation of tobacco legislation in relation to the first suspected e-cigarette death in Belgium has been launched, the office of the Brussels public prosecutor has confirmed.

The aim of the investigation is to uncover the circumstances of the death of Raphaël Pauwaert (18) from Brussels, who passed away on 6 November in Brussels’ Saint-Luc clinic after being admitted with respiratory problems.

Around the time of the teenager’s death, doctors who treated Raphaël at the Saint-Luc clinic said no tests existed which could allow for a direct link to be made between the teenager’s death and his vaping habit, but that all other possible causes had been ruled out.

Professor Luc-Marie Jacquet, who treated Raphaël, now believes that the boy’s vaping habit is the most logical explanation for his death, explains Bruzz.

Initially, the public prosecutor did not react to the death of the teenager because no criminal offence was directly committed.

However, an official report by the Federal Public Service has changed the situation. After hearing about the teenager’s death, the Ministry of Health contacted the victim’s doctors, drafted a report and handed it over to the public prosecutor’s office, BX1 explains.

Evie McCullough
The Brussels Times

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