In recent months, poison control centers reported soaring numbers of accidental poisonings in both adults and children from skin contact or swallowing the liquid used in electronic cigarettes. These poisonings are a symptom of the real problem: marketing these products toward kids.
The liquids used in e-cigarette devices often come in child-friendly flavors and colors. There are over 4000 of these liquids on the market and are arranged in rainbows of colorful packages with cartoon images on the label. They are often placed and sold, near candy with flavors including “vivid vanilla,” “cherry crush”, Jolly Rancher, Gummy Bear and Bubble Gum –clearly appealing to our kids. Most containers lack warnings or child-proof packaging and are marketed as harmless.
The majority of these e-juices contain nicotine which is a fast acting, highly addictive drug and is proven to have negative impact on teen brain development. In addition, nicotine is absorbable through the skin. In small children, eating the liquid or even spilling it on the skin can cause major health effects such as seizures or even death. Currently the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate this product. This means the labels aren’t always factual and the product isn’t held to any specific quality standard. Studies of e-cigarette juice have found heavy metals, carcinogens, and other hazardous substances. Yikes!
Since 2011, at least 9 Montanans have been treated for nicotine poisoning from e-cigarette liquid, including 4 children under the age of 6 years. Between 2012 and 2013, poison control centers across the United States saw a 219% increase in cases; approximately half of all exposures occurred in young children under the age of six.
Nicotine is one of the most toxic plant chemical ever discovered. So until the FDA requires e-cigarette manufactures to develop effective child safety measures and stops using marketing tactics that appeal to children; keep the product out of reach of children and in an enclosed container. Treat it, like you would bleach or any other chemical and keep your kids safe and away from these candy flavored poisons.
If you or someone you know has been poisoned by an e-cigarette or by liquid nicotine, call the Poison Center at 800.222.1222. To get help to quit smoking or using tobacco, call the Montana Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800.QUIT.NOW or visit www.QuitNowMontana.com