E-Cigarettes – An Emerging Hazard

E-Cigarette with liquid nicotineThe Washington Post reported today that U.S. poison centers are experiencing a dramatic rise in reports of incidents involving e-cigarettes. Between September 2010 and February 2014 these calls have increased from one to 215 per month. E-cigarettes contain very concentrated amounts of liquid nicotine — a toxin — which is heated in the e-cigarette to create vapors that can be inhaled. Apparently over 50% of calls involve children younger than six years old. Liquid nicotine is sold in appealing flavors like chocolate mint, cherry, and bubble gum, and children ingesting this substance have suffered symptoms including an increased heart rate, vomiting, and stomach aches. Consuming too much liquid nicotine could be fatal.

See Dennis, B. “Calls to Poison Centers About E-cigarettes Have Surged,” The Washington Post, Thursday, April 3, 2014. (viewed 4/3/2014)

If you have e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine in your house, make sure to treat them like any other household hazard — keep them out of reach of children. If you visit friends or family that might have e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine around make sure these hazards are placed out of reach.

— Janell Mayo Duncan

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