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E-cigarette’s liquid nicotine causing poisonings

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Oklahoma mother warns e-cigarette users about children and liquid nicotine

As electronic cigarettes increase in popularity, calls to the nation’s poison control centers about exposure to the liquid nicotine used in many of the devices have surged, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

In February, there were 215 poison center calls involving e-cigarettes, the CDC said. That’s compared to one per month in September 2010.

And 51% of those calls involved children 5 and under, officials said.

Since not all poisonings get reported, the CDC said the total number of cases is likely even higher.

Nicotine is a drug, and in its concentrated liquid form, poison experts warn it is also significantly toxic, even in small doses. E-cigarettes, which are not required to be childproof, feature flavors like spearmint, banana and bubble gum, making them appealing to kids.

“What’s attractive to kids: It’s the smell. It’s the scent. It’s the color,” said Gaylord Lopez, director of the Georgia Poison Center. “A kid’s not going to know the difference between a poison and something they can drink.”

An Oklahoma mother found that out the hard way when her 4-year-old son got his hands on the liquid nicotine used to refill her e-cigarettes.

“We hear a little noise, come in and he has taken the lid off of all of them and has this liquid everywhere. He’s got it all over him. He’s been eating it,” Ren Gaulrapp told CNN affiliate KFOR.

Her son was rushed to the emergency room and vomited all day long.

Poisonings can also occur when liquid nicotine is inhaled or absorbed through the skin or eyes, and other side effects can include nausea and eye irritation. It can even be deadly. One person used the liquid to commit suicide by injecting it, according to the CDC.

Lopez said his poison center has also taken calls from adults who’ve spilled e-cigarette nicotine on themselves while filling up the devices.

“You can start to feel sick in as little as four to five minutes,” he said. “The fumes themselves can be poisonous, and if we inhale them for long enough we’re going to get a little sick to our stomach.”

About 42% of the poison calls in February involved people age 20 and older, the CDC said.

E-cigarette products are currently not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Poison control experts say the liquids, found in bottles or cartridges that have been known to break, need to be better controlled.

“There’s no legislation on the books right now,” Lopez said. “A product as dangerous as this, as lethal as this, child-resistant caps would be a great help.”

Ray Story, founder of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, said his association promotes childproof packaging, warning labels, and limits on the potency of liquid nicotine sold in bottles.

“We have expressed our concerns about unregulated liquids on many occasions, but we do not want to demonize them as the culprit for this problem,” Story said in a statement. “The toxicity for all products is in the dosage.”

“We have provided the regulatory bodies information and guidelines on this that can easily be implemented and then could eliminate these cases entirely.”

Educating e-cigarette users is also a crucial step in eliminating the incidents, he said.

Gaulrapp, the mother in Oklahoma, said she has since moved her liquid nicotine up and out of her son’s reach.

“It smells like candy. It really isn’t,” she told KFOR. “This really can hurt you.”

By John Bonifield

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

23 comments

  • Nick

    If a kid drank bleach they would die too. Parents…..be parents. Keep your e liquid away from your children. You are making this easy for them to give us vapers a bad name. Ecigs are saving peoples lives. For some people this is the only thing that will ever get them to quit smoking. You irresponsible, clueless parents are going to ruin a great thing.

  • Beth

    Well kudos to the genius who finally, after a sick child and an ER visit, had sense enough to put her liquids out of reach of her children. (Insert sarcasm). Adults should not be punished financially or convenience wise because a very tiny percentage of irresponsible users can’t be bothered to follow very simple precautions…I see no child proof packaging on the 20 or so flavors of vodka lining the shelves, or on nicotine gum, or on household cleaners. Why is this particular product so controversial? Big tobacco and a huge loss in tax revenues from ex smokers who’ve successfully made the switch and no longer contribute to a cash strapped economy, that’s why! Quit baiting the public opinion with insane claims..,do some actual research and report ALL facets of ecigs and their users, not just examples of irresponsible parents and poison controls calls without the entire story of why they were involved.

  • Sandy MacFarland

    wow, ignorant people never cease to amaze me!! cigarettes have many toxic ingredients in them most of which are highly toxic and they all scream about second had smoke. So now people are trying to quit by the e-cigarette which only has small amounts of nicotine in them. Further more you can wean yourself off of the nicotine simply by ending with just the flavor. I don’t hear anyone yelling about all of the small children stealing parents cigarettes now!!
    There is nothing in this world we can ingest that is not harmful to our bodies and is the leading cause of many fatal illness. You the same people who scream the loudest are stuffing your bodies not to mention your small children with gmo foods. My goodness they even put that in baby formula. Hello Poison in a pure form. But that does not upset you one little bit. How about jumping on the fight against MOSANTO for poisoning all of us instead of worrying about folks who want to find a way to quit smoking.
    As far as the injury to children, come on people, wake up they can not get ahold of it if the parents would be responsible. This all boils down to adults being mature and responsible parents like it used to be back in the day.

  • Joe

    Agree with Beth, they make the product sound so deadly that it MUST be taxed. They arnt doing there research, besides, people die every day from stuff. Leave the people who are making a healthier choice alone.

  • Nathan

    Look at all the chemicals that are under our sinks that can be deadly if ingested. I seem to remember a bright green sticker…MR. YUCK. Those items are well known to be in the reach of children, don’t hear anyone screaming to ban them. How bout parents start acting like parents and be responsible and actually watch your child!

  • Kenneth Cole

    which statement would you like me to correct first the fact you think you should be allowed to buy a drug using tax dollars or the fact that you voted for obama

  • Jon Brenner

    I agree with most of the statements/examples stated already. Be an adult and keep dangerous substances away from children. Also agree that your candy cane flavored vodka should be kept put away..although I don’t see how a child could choke down enough of either one. The idiot who committed suicide would have found a way to do it with or without ejuice. It all comes down to big pharma/tobacco, losing money so it’s time to steal it back from the little people while the bodies of dead smokers pile up. It has helped myself and so many others kick the disgusting smoking habit yet that is never what makes the news. If the ban of ejuice sales in Il. goes into effect it will only accomplish two things, one driving it “underground” and two make the neighboring states more money while destroying jobs and businesses in Il. All the while we will still be vaping in Il. The government will tell us how to live our lives, how to be responsible adults, what we can and can’t do on our own property, and in our own businesses. Kinda scary doesn’t so much feel like the land of the free anymore…

    • Steven Sweeney

      People already forgot they stopped the Tide “pods” for a while because they looked like candy.If parents can’t be trusted with something as simple as detergent, the product IS NOT the problem.

  • EdgarPoe

    Like any chemical in the home, they should be kept out of reach from children. Soon our government will be telling us what color underwear we should be wearing on a certain day, if you’re nor wearing that color, you will be arrested. (God, give me a break)

  • Jon Brenner

    Thanks to idiots like fox 2 news who are aparently starving for a story, all yi u will ever hear from the media is the negative propaganda. Un educated false info.

  • chejkalcfh

    No let’s get real nicotine is a drug, whether is e-cigs or the old burn your lips kind.regulate it through the FDA, make it a pharmaceutical. and require an MD’s script for either. I’m still on the fence about alcohol.

  • Pauly

    I heard those E-liquids also contain dihydrogen monoxide, which can kill if inhaled directly into the lungs. Better ban that too ( Heavy sarcasm here. Look it up) We need to be responsible and not leave dangerous substances where small children and pets can get to them. Stop being so reactionary to a small percentage of people who aren’t responsible and focus on the larger group that is doing it right.

  • Teressa lambert

    I was just wondering how bad the e-cigarette liquid is for you. I quit smoking in December and did the e-cigarette for about a month and a half to two months I do not smoke it very often at the end but it’s beginning I was hitting it just like a regular cigarette then slowly went down to where it was about the last month where I would hit it only twice a day and then went to zero nicotine the last week. I have been very sick with bronchitis after that and now a night I’m on oxygen since all this. Could this be from the e-cigarette been trying to look into it more sensibly but there’s not much out there to look at can anyone help

  • teresa

    i was wonderimg the same thing does the liquid actuallx make u sick i have been useing it for over a month now an seems like i been sick ever since

    • Jon Brenner

      Ban it?? Why is that the answer to every uneducated individual? Regulate by only selling to 18 and over, but don’t take our businesses awsy and the jobsproduced bh them because the non vapers dont understant it. Unbelievable. Not the principles we were founded on. All about who pays who. One day big pharma can go back to lettong chantix be responsible for suicides. Ridiculous…

  • TD

    For the people that think they are getting sick from eliquid, have you educated yourselves fully about eliquid? Do you know the percentage of pg/vg in your liquid? Some people are sensitive or even allergic to pg, so switching to 100%vg liquid could help. Or, maybe the nicotine level you are using is too high; try a lower level. It can take several adjustments to the liquid that you are purchasing to find the juice that works best for you. And, i recommend buying juices from places where you can choose the mix of pg/vg/nicotine as opposed to using “unknown” blends (ive been to a couple local vape stores and they couldnt tell me what was in their juice, which ahould never be the case. Just some friendly advice.

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