Liquid Nicotine Exposures Drastically Increased According to National Statistics

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( — October 14, 2014)  — In just three years, the number of reported liquid nicotine exposures has drastically increased from only a few hundred total cases to several thousand. More than one half of the calls are concerning children under the age of 6. The battery powered electronic cigarettes work by heating liquid nicotine into an inhalable vapor. Liquid nicotine comes in brightly colored refill packages and several thousand flavors that can make it attractive to children. “Usually parents or family members leave out refill bottles that they [children] try and open,” said Ashley Webb, director of the Kentucky Regional Poison Control Center.


Poison control workers often see a spike in calls when a new product hits the market after advertising agencies do their job, Webb said. The number of e-cigarette users has climbed to several million worldwide and the industry grown from about $82 million to $2.5 billion in annual sales in only four years.


Liquid nicotine is potentially more toxic than traditional cigarettes, said Robert Bassett, a medical toxicologist in Philadelphia. “Despite the recent increase, liquid nicotine exposures are still less than half of traditional cigarettes”, Bassett said. “The concentrates are by its nature more dangerous”, said Bassett. “It would be really hard for a child to eat a whole pack of cigarettes,” he added. “Unfortunately with little kids it’s hard”, “They simply can’t tell you what they’re feeling,” Bassett said, referring to a case when an infant consumed a bottle of liquid nicotine that was left on the table, while mother was turned away. The 10-month-old boy recovered within hours, he had vomited, and had tachycardia when he was admitted to the emergency room.


Liquid nicotine is especially hazardous because it doesn’t have to be swallowed to be harmful, even skin exposure can be toxic. However, there is still no legal protocol for mandatory child-resistant caps usage. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed issuing regulations, yet no rules have been drafted.