E-cigarette refills’ dangers for kids

e-liquid10Would You Leave A Loaded Gun on the Floor?  (press release, Public Health Officer Dr. Rick Johnson)

If you have children in your home, hopefully you would not! However, a new threat to the health of our children is emerging. These are e-liquids, sold legally in stores and online in small bottles that may be carelessly and casually left around the house, used for the regular re-filling of e-cigarettes.

The danger is from the nicotine content in these vials of “juice”. Children can happen upon a vial and ingest it. These fluids come in flavors and bright colors that are attractive for kids – cotton candy, cherry, chocolate, and bubble gum among others. In addition, nicotine is absorbed through the skin, presenting a risk from a broken vial.

Electronic cigarettes, called e-cigarettes, are drug delivery devices originally designed to look like regular tobacco cigarettes. Now they are larger reusable gadgets that can be refilled with liquid, generally a mixture of nicotine, flavorings, and solvents. It is estimated that roughly four million Americans use these battery powered devices. They have been hailed by proponents as a way for addicted smokers to get their nicotine fix without sucking in the thousands of carcinogens found in traditional cigarettes.

However, the evidence of their effectiveness in assisting persons in weaning off their nicotine addiction is less than stellar. In addition, evidence is rapidly mounting that they are serving as a “gateway” for young teens into the world of nicotine addiction. A recent study found nearly 1.8 million youth had tried e-cigarettes, and the number of middle and high school e-smokers doubled in one year. No wonder the industry targets the young who will be potential customers for decades to come! Their goal – to have the number of e-smokers quadruple in the next few years.

So how bad is the risk of exposure? Nicotine is a naturally occurring powerful neurotoxin, and in its potent liquid form, can be ingested or absorbed through the skin. Tiny amounts can cause vomiting, seizures, and even death. A teaspoon of even the highly diluted liquid can kill a small child.

A dose of 50 to 60 milligrams (mg) is potentially fatal for an adult; a 30 pound child could die from 1.36 mg. A vial of e-juice as commonly sold in retail stores is 17 milliliters, and with a 2.4% concentration would have 408 mg of nicotine. This year it is estimated that 1 to 2 million LITERS of liquid will be sold, much of it on the Internet. A liter of 10% concentration costs about $110, a gallon $195, and one company even offers a 55 gallon drum!

Nationwide, reports of accidental poisonings linked to e-liquids in 2013 jumped 300% from 2012, and is on pace to double again this year. Most cases are under the age of 4. A shop owner says that “We tell them that this stuff is poisonous. We do everything we can to protect the consumers, but at the end of the day, you leave a loaded gun on the floor, and your child gets hold of it, it’s not gonna be the gunmaker’s responsibility.” A CEO of e-cigarette franchises says ‘It’s the wild, wild west right now.” There is no FDA regulation so far. So at the moment, if you are a user, your child has to go no farther than your own home to find a lethal dose of poison. Be aware of the risks, and keep vials out of reach. You are responsible for the safety of your children.

 

6 Responses to E-cigarette refills’ dangers for kids

  1. Wayne Deja March 26, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    Good article with some “common sense” information…..when you order the E-cig fluid,you are warned on page # 1 it contains nicotine… not to drink it….not to leave it in an area where children can get to it..not to fill the E-cig with ANYTHING but the E-cig fluid…..I recently read where some pothead filled his E-cig cartridge with marijuana and I guess the plastic cartomizer either exploded or caught on fire…..and then the story stated the idiot that did this plans to sue the E-cig company for HIS stupidity, and a shot at some free money….cha-ching!!….I’m beginning to think our Government is starting to worry about the E-cig craze,and losing tax $$$$ on those addicted to cigarettes..I heard from a friend in Washington there is legislation up there on trying to TAX E-cig fluid something like 75 %,more or less trying to run the companies that make it out of business by doing so.

     
  2. Trouble March 26, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

    Dr. Johnson should go after the his fellow doctors that are really killing our kids with their prescription pads. E-cigs is the least of our true problems!

     
  3. 86heard March 26, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

    I was curious as to what a “300% jump” meant in terms of actual numbers, and came across this:

    http://www.digitaltrends.com/opinion/e-liquid-e-cigarettes-risks-dangers-toothpaste-new-york-times/#!Bzncz

    While it is an opinion piece, it has actual numbers rather than meaningless hyperbolic percentages.

     
  4. Nate March 27, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    “However, the evidence of their effectiveness in assisting persons in weaning off their nicotine addiction is less than stellar.”

    This is an interesting criticism, since the standard FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapies each have failure rates in excess of 95%. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people, many of them hardcore, lifelong smokers (most of whom had tried and failed to quit using the aforementioned government-approved NRTs), have successfully dropped the habit with the help of ecigs.

    “In addition, evidence is rapidly mounting that they are serving as a “gateway” for young teens into the world of nicotine addiction. A recent study found nearly 1.8 million youth had tried e-cigarettes, and the number of middle and high school e-smokers doubled in one year.”

    Conveniently omitted from this statement is the highly pertinent fact that the rate of teen cigarette smoking went DOWN by a similar percentage. If adolescents are going to experiment with nicotine (let’s face it, they always have and they always will), shouldn’t we be CELEBRATING the fact that more of them are using a delivery system that’s 99% less hazardous to their health than tobacco smoking?

     
  5. Jack Blaisdell March 27, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    If children get ahold of their parents’ e-liquid, the parents should go to jail. Why would a parent expose their children to such a thing? Those children should be removed from their homes. Obviously the parents are not capable of taking care of children. Who knows what other toxic chemicals these parents are leaving laying around. Things like nail polish remover rubbing alcohol, cigarettes, bleach, ajax, drain cleaner, etc. are dangerous. I can only imagine what else these parents are exposing their children to. Poor children. Please, if you know people who let their children handle this stuff, report it to the authorities! These ignorant parents need to go to jail! Don’t blame the makers of these products for the parents’ ignorance!

     
  6. Trouble March 27, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    To many Dr.Drew whack jobs on this subjects.

     

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