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Poison Control Centers Say E-Cigarettes Pose Toxic Risk

Recent warnings have been issued stating that more people, especially young kids, are being poisoned by concentrated e-cigarette liquid.

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Keep out of reach of children. Shutterstock

By Bryan Le

03/26/14

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Following a wave of illness reports resulting from e-cigarette liquid, the American Association of Poison Control Centers has issued a warning to parents and vape users cautioning them to properly seal and store their vials and devices out of reach of children.

The number of reported e-cigarette-related poisonings nationwide has risen from 269 in 2011 to 458 in 2012 to 1,414 cases in 2013. So far in 2014, there have been 651 reports with nine months left to go. At the current rate, poisonings for this year could top 2,600 cases.

A little over half of the reports involved children under the age of six, some of whom had symptoms of nausea and vomiting serious enough that they needed to visit the emergency room.

E-cigarette liquids typically contain concentrations of nicotine, artificial flavors, and other chemicals meant to be heated and inhaled rather than ingested directly. The liquid can induce vomiting and seizures when absorbed through the skin or swallowed. Just one teaspoon can kill a child.

"These concentrated products are significantly toxic in very small doses," said Ashley Webb, director of the Kentucky Regional Poison Center. "When it comes to concentrated liquid nicotine, the danger is not just ingestion but with simple contact with the skin."

Smaller cartridges have often been mistaken for pills and eaten, while droppers have been mistaken for eye drops. E-cigarette users who buy their liquid by the gallon have also spilled the liquid while handling the large containers, causing nausea, vomiting, and a heart rate increase. "Children should never be near these products," warned Lee Cantrell, a California Poison Control System toxicologist.

The poison control centers recommend that only adults with hand and skin protection should handle e-cigarette liquids.

Watch a report from USA Today below:

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