Number of Young Children Poisoned by E-Cigarettes on the Rise

Swallowing the liquid nicotine appears to affect children under 6 the most
Swallowing the liquid nicotine appears to affect children under 6 the most

HealthDay News — Calls to poison control centers about young children's exposure to e-cigarettes have increased significantly in recent years, and those children who are exposed seem to suffer worse health effects than those exposed to traditional cigarettes, according to research published online May 9 in Pediatrics.

Researchers analyzed calls to the National Poison Data System about nicotine and tobacco products from January 2012 to April 2015. They focused on calls about children under the age of 6.

According to the researchers, 14.2% of calls were about exposure to e-cigattes, compared to 60.1% about exposure to traditional cigarettes. In 91.6% of the e-cigarette cases, the children swallowed liquid nicotine. In 1.7% of the e-cigarette cases, the children suffered a moderate effect (71 cases) or a major effect (5 cases). There was also 1 death. There was no effect in almost half the cases (46.6%) and a minor effect in 22.2%. The effect wasn't clear in the other cases. Children were admitted to health care facilities in 1.6% of cases, compared to 0.3% of cigarette exposure cases.

"The frequency of exposures to e-cigarettes and nicotine liquid among young children is increasing rapidly and severe outcomes are being reported," the authors conclude. "Prevention strategies include public education; appropriate product storage and use away from children; warning labels; and modifications of e-cigarette devices, e-liquid, and e-liquid containers and packaging to make them less appealing and less accessible to children."

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