Oct 16

eCigarettes: A New Poisoning Danger!

10/16/14 – EMSA Poisoning Danger Update:

Regarding Electronic Cigarettes, Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and Other Vapor Products:

Children’s caregivers:

  • Should not allow children to play with electronic cigarettes or similar devices. They contain batteries and liquid chemicals which, if swallowed, could cause serious health complications. Nicotine is a known poison. Bottles of e-juice, used in e-cigarettes, are a poison risk for small children and pets.
  • Should store e-cigarettes and their highly toxic refills out of reach of children.
  • Should be aware that electronic cigarettes and similar electronic nicotine delivery devices are available in a variety of flavors, such as bubble gum, strawberry, chocolate, mint, candy, cereal, and fruit flavors which may be attractive to children.
  • Further, recent studies have indicated that the nicotine from e-cigarettes can have significant repercussions for children’s health. Information from the recently released 50th Anniversary Surgeon General report shows that nicotine in high enough doses is acutely toxic, and that exhaled e-cigarette vapor contains formaldehyde and acetaldehyde as well as traces of other carcinogens. There is also suggestive evidence that nicotine exposure during adolescence, when cognitive development is at a critical stage, may have lasting adverse consequences for brain development.

AAP Statement on E-Cigarette Poisoning Data

By: James M. Perrin, MD, FAAP, president, American Academy of Pediatrics – Pediatric Concerns

Because e-cigarettes are offered in many child-friendly flavors, there is a concern surrounding toxicity- the nicotine cartridges and refills pose a poison risk to children, and, more and more children being exposed to these dangerous products each month.

“New data released today from the federal government confirms pediatricians’ concerns about e-cigarettes and their liquid nicotine refills: they are poisoning children at an alarming rate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) new findings, calls to poison control centers related to e-cigarette exposure increased from one per month four years ago to 215 per month as of February 2014.


“A teaspoon of that solution could potentially kill a child, there’s no doubt.”

Kids are the biggest worry — as little as a teaspoon of highly concentrated liquid nicotine could cause serious harm, said Lee Cantrell, director of the San Diego division of the California poison control system. Reports of poisonings in kids jumped 10-fold at his site in the past 14 months.

“I went online and found some retailers selling concentrations of 7.2 percent nicotine in 100-milliliter bottles,” Cantrell said. “A teaspoon of that solution could potentially kill a child, there’s no doubt.”

Because of the high concentration of nicotine, the very toxic liquid can be extremely dangerous if someone touches it or accidentally swallows it. The fluid that contains nicotine can cause illness just by being absorbed into the skin.

The assistant director of California’s Poison Control Centers, Dr. Cyrus Rangan, says, “Poison control centers across the country have been reporting that young children have been getting into these, and, with just a few drops of exposure, a very young child could become very toxic and require hospitalization.”

Children across the country have been rushed to emergency rooms after drinking the liquid, which may smell sweet and have flavors like bubble gum and green apple.  E-cigarettes are particularly appealing to children and adolescents because they are widely available in candy and fruit flavors such as cotton candy and grape, as well as flavors that mimic popular children’s products, such as breakfast cereal flavors.