Nicotine Poisoning on the Rise
U.S. health officials have reported a dramatic increase in the number of nicotine poisonings linked to electronic cigarettes over recent years as the products have become more popular.
215 Nicotine Poisoning Calls Made in February
“We have not had an unintentional poisoning death from e-cigarettes yet in the United States that we know of, but the potential is there given the amount of concentrated nicotine in these solutions – it would not take a lot for a child death to occur.” – Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office on Smoking and Health as published by HealthDay
According to HealthDay, the number calls made to poison control centers in 2010 in connection to nicotine poisoning from e-cigarettes was limited to roughly one a month; however, that number has jumped drastically over the past three years with 215 calls being made in February alone.
Even more alarming is that 51 percent of the calls made to poison control centers involved children aged 5 and younger. 42 percent involved people over the age of 20.
Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr. Tom Frieden claims that children may be drawn to e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine because of the candy and fruit flavors.
Proposed Electronic Cigarette Regulations
Dr. Tim McAfee director of the CDC Office on Smoking and Health noted that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is working on legislation that would regulate how e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine are packaged. This would include the need for childproof caps and warning labels.
McAfee stated that poisoning from liquid nicotine can happen in three ways:
Once in a person’s system, the nicotine can result in vomiting, nausea and seizures. McAfee urges that the nicotine be handled with the same caution has a person would handle bleach, stating that in some ways, the chemical is more toxic than bleach.
Despite the sharp increase in liquid nicotine poising rates, e-cigarette products still account for less than 2 percent of overall tobacco product sales.