E-cigarettes sicken kids
Study reveals alarming rate of poisoning
Electronic cigarettes have sickened young children and the numbers are rising, a study of US poison centre calls has found. Most cases involve swallowing liquid nicotine.
While most kids weren’t seriously harmed, one child died and several had severe complications including comas and seizures.
“This is an epidemic by any definition,” said lead author Dr Gary Smith, director of the Centre for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
The researchers say the results highlight a need for better parent awareness about the importance of keeping the devices out of sight and reach of young kids. They also recommend stricter regulation and applauded long-awaited restrictions the US Food and Drug Administration issued last Thursday.
The study examined poison centre calls about exposure to nicotine and tobacco products among children under age six from
January 2012 through April 2015. The most worrisome findings involved e-cigarettes - battery-powered devices that turn nicotine into an inhalable vapour.
Some feature colourful packaging and flavoured nicotine that can attract young children.
The results were published yesterday in the journal Pediatrics.
Monthly calls about young children swallowing, inhaling or touching e-cigarettes climbed from 14 early on to 223 by the study’s end.
Calls totalled 4,128 during the study. Most children were age two or younger. The cases represent 14 per cent of the nearly 30,000 calls about kids’ exposure to nicotine and tobacco products during that time.
Liquid nicotine in e-cigarettes can harm young children if swallowed or absorbed into the skin. Vomiting, a quickened heartbeat and jittery behaviour are among the symptoms.
223 e-cigarettes were the subject of 223 calls a month to poison centres by the end of the study
HABIT: E-cigarettes turn liquid nicotine into vapour