E-Cig Liquid Nicotine Poisoning Blamed for Child’s Death

Another potential safety risk associated with e-cigs has emerged following the poisoning death of a one-year old child after ingesting the liquid nicotine used in the electronic cigarettes. 

The toddler died in Fort Plain, New York on Tuesday, according to local police, who say the child’s death was a “tragic accident.” In the wake of the death, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) has called for government regulation of liquid nicotine.

The child, whose identity has been withheld, reportedly gained access to a glass bottle of liquid nicotine that did not have a childproof cap, Fort Plain Police officials said. Emergency workers were called to the house when the child was found to be unresponsive.

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In June, the New York Legislature approved a bill that would require childproof packaging for all liquid nicotine products, but the bill has yet to go before New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who said Wednesday that he will sign it. There is also a proposed bill in congress that would require childproofing of liquid nicotine nationwide as well.

The public watchdog group Consumer Reports also called for federal liquid nicotine legislation earlier this year.

Poison control centers nationwide have received at least 3,638 reports involving problems from e-cigarette or liquid nicotine exposure through November of this year, according to the statement by the AAPCC. In 2013, only 1,414 such poison control calls were logged for the entire year.

The AAPCC warns that one teaspoon of liquid nicotine, which must be diluted for electronic cigarettes, can be lethal to a child. Smaller amounts can cause severe illness, including vomiting, nausea and eye irritation.

Teen Use of E-Cigarettes Surpasses Traditional Smoking

The death came on the same day that the National Institute on Drug Abuse released a new report showing high rates of e-cigarette use among teens. The e-cigarette trend has led to more middle-schoolers vaping than smoking, according to the findings.

The report found that 8.7% of eighth graders used an e-cigarette in the month before the survey. That compares to just 1.4% for smoking traditional cigarettes. More than 17% of high school seniors say they vape, compared to 6.7% who say they smoke.

The increase in electronic cigarette use casts a shadow over otherwise positive numbers for teen drug use, researchers warned.

“Despite the positive developments this year, we are concerned about the levels of e-cigarette use among teens that we are seeing,” Dr. Lloyd D. Johnston, principal investigator from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, said. “It would be a tragedy if this product undid some of the great progress made to date in reducing cigarette smoking by teens.”

A recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 16 million children under the age of 18 live in the 10 states and the District of Columbia where they can buy e-cigarettes or similar devices. In the other 40 states, it is illegal to sell them to minors.

Advocates of increased regulation for e-cigarettes are especially concerned since manufacturers continue to make e-cigarettes in a wide range of colors and fruity flavors which appeal to children.

Manufacturers also create advertisements which some critics say are targeting children. A recent congressional report found manufactures intentionally target children with advertisements that use celebrities to entice teens and by offering free samples of fun flavors like Chocolate Treat or Cherry Crush.

In April the FDA announced its plans to begin overseeing electronic cigarettes. Under the proposed regulation children under the age of 18 will be restricted from legally buying the products and it will require manufacturers to register their products with the FDA. However, the regulations do not limit the use of candy-like flavors.

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