In Children’s Hands, E-Cigarettes Can Be Deadly

Blu E-Cigarette
Jim Watson—AFP/Getty Images

Poison centers are experiencing a spike in calls concerning children exposed to liquid nicotine. New findings are just the latest in increasing skepticism over e-cigarettes’ safety.

E-cigarettes have been criticized for targeting children, since many brands come in bright colors, and candy and fruit flavors. While some worry about tempting kids with an addictive habit, e-cigs can also be deadly for them.

The CDC recently released a report indicating a rise in e-cigarette-related calls to U.S. poison centers.  This “dramatic” rise is up from one call a month in September 2010 to 215 calls a month in February 2014. More than half of the calls involved children age five and under. The nicotine in e-cigarette comes in a liquid form, which when ingested can lead to vomiting, nausea, and eye irritation.

“E-cigarette liquids as currently sold are a threat to small children because they are not required to be childproof,” said CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden. “Use of these products is skyrocketing and these poisonings will continue.”

A small study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine reported that smoking e-cigs doesn’t help people smoking conventional cigarettes quit. Another study found that young people who smoke e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke regular cigarettes as well.

The CDC warns that e-cigarettes may be an emerging public health issue.

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