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Electronic cigarette poisonings on the rise

Posted on Apr 18, 2014 ( comments)
vape-juice
A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns parents about the dangers of e-cigarette liquid.

Many people make the switch from traditional cigarettes to the electronic version because it is perceived as safer. E-cigarettes are smokeless and the liquid used for e-cigarette smoking—also known as vape juice—does not contain common harmful chemicals found in cigarettes such as carbon monoxide and tar.

E-cigarettes are not yet regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and while e-cigarettes may not appear harmful, it’s important to know that not enough research exists to support the claim that e-cigarettes are safe. What is clear is that vape juice can be extremely dangerous if ingested. According to the CDC “The most common adverse health effects in e-cigarette exposure calls were vomiting, nausea and eye irritation.”

In February 2014, the CDC reported 215 calls to U.S. poison centers involving e-cigarette liquid—51 percent of those calls were for children under the age of 5.

Vape juice is available in hundreds of flavors. Many flavors appeal to children, such as mint chocolate chip ice cream, bubble gum and cotton candy.

MultiCare Mary Bridge Emergency Department physicians say they haven’t seen any patients for e-cigarette poisoning yet. Nicotine in its most traditional form, cigarettes, is also risky for children if ingested.

“The most serious ingestions usually involve those who swallow used butts,” said Dr. Tom Hurt, Pediatric Emergency Physician at Mary Bridge. “The used butts have a high concentration of nicotine. Nicotine is a stimulant and can cause nausea, vomiting, agitation, cardiac dysrhythmias and seizures, among other things.”

Prevent poisonings by keeping vape juice and used cigarette butts far from children’s reach. If you suspect a child ingested either of these things, contact your child’s doctor right away.

If you have a question about suspected poisoning, call the Washington Poison Center at 800-222-1222.
Posted in: General Vitals

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Jen Rittenhouse Jen Rittenhouse
Jen is our social media specialist. She writes stories that connect people with hospitals, health care and each other. You can reach her at jen.rittenhouse@multicare.org.

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