According to a recent CDC report , e-cigarette poisoning in children went from one reported case per month in fall of 2010 to 215 per month by February 2014. This raised questions again about e-cigarette safety, particularly in homes with children.
Keeping Your Child Safe
- Nicotine liquid can come in small single-use vials or even large gallon jugs. Packaging of these liquids is not regulated and not child-proof.
- If you use e-cigarettes, keep the liquid well out of reach of children, just as you would any toxic household chemicals. Consider locking the place where it is stored.
- Try using liquids flavored like actual cigarettes, particularly if you were already a smoker. If you can avoid tempting colors and tastes, you will make the liquid less appealing than if you’re using sweetly-flavored varieties.
- Make sure that your child-care providers understand that e-cigarettes are not safe for children. Ask that they refrain from using them around your kids and that they not bring the liquid into your home.
- Know what your child’s friends and their parents are doing in their homes. If you know they use e-cigarettes, talk to your child about how dangerous they can be. Remind them to never eat or drink anything that hasn’t been specifically offered to them and to stay out of cabinets in other peoples’ homes. Consider talking to the parents themselves and let them know what you know about the dangers of e-cigarette liquid.
Why is e-Cigarette Liquid so Dangerous for Children?
- Nicotine poisoning in children caused by “real” cigarettes is usually the result of chewing on the cigarette. Likely, the reason this type of poisoning is uncommon, and usually results in few if any harmful effects, is because it is obviously unappealing and little nicotine ends up in the child.
- e-Cigarette liquid, however, is potent, highly concentrated nicotine that is frequently brightly colored and flavored to taste like fruits, candies, and even bubble gum.
- The amount of liquid in an e-cigarette typically contains from 10-15mg of nicotine. As little as 1mg of nicotine per kilogram of body weight can be lethal. This means that ingesting just the amount of liquid in one e-cigarette could be lethal to a toddler weighing 30 pounds.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics, one of the nation’s foremost authorities on children’s health, is so concerned about the dangers of e-cigarettes, that they have called for a full ban of e-cigarettes and related products . Acknowledging that such a ban is likely not feasible, it urges states to at least ban sales of e-cigarettes to all minors. Such a strong stance reiterates the very real threat e-cigarette liquids pose to kids.
Are e-Cigarettes a Danger to your Teen?
- Use of e-Cigarettes by minors doubled from 2011 to 2013, according to US Census data.
- 76% of teens who used e-cigarettes also smoked real cigarettes.
- Although your teen may think they are safe, even without tar inhalation, the nicotine itself still poses a health risk. It is highly addictive and can cause cardiac problems including increased heart rate and high blood pressure.
- Teens are less likely to understand the dangers of the e-cigarette liquid. Allowing it in your home, especially permitting minors to use it, greatly increases the chances that a young person will be over-exposed to the dangerous liquid.
Has Your Child or Teen Been Poisoned?
- IF YOU KNOW YOUR CHILD HAS INGESTED E-CIGARETTE LIQUID, CALL 911.
- Nicotine poisoning is characterised by drooling, confusion, headache and abdominal symptoms such as vomiting and cramping.
- Look for respiratory problems including rapid breaths, difficulty breathing, or even ceasing to breathe.
- For a full list of symptoms, visit The National Institutes of Health’s Nicotine Poisoning page .