An Increase in Poisonings

p0403-e-cigarette-poisonA new concern has arisen in the debate over the safety of e-cigarettes—poison.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that the number of calls to poison control centers related to e-cigarette exposure rose from one a month in September 2010 to 215 a month in February 2014. More than half of the reported exposures were among young children.

E-cigarettes heat a liquid solution or e-liquid containing highly addictive nicotine into a vapor. E-liquids, which are easily available, can be purchased in various sizes, including a gallon, with varying concentrations of nicotine. Exposure to even low concentrations of nicotine can cause poisoning in children. At higher concentrations, exposure could cause death. The New York Times quoted Dr. Cantrell from the California Poison Control System, as saying that less than a tablespoon of liquid nicotine in concentration of 10% or even 7.2% would be lethal for a child. In fact, he warned, “Not just a kid. One tablespoon could kill an adult.”

That’s too high a price to pay for a lack of government regulation, childproof containers, and warning labels. With the e-cigarette industry booming, we urge the FDA to act quickly and regulate these products to protect our children’s health and safety.