Children Increasingly At Risk From Liquid Nicotine In E-Cigarettes: CDC
April 4, 2014

Children Increasingly At Risk From Liquid Nicotine In E-Cigarettes: CDC

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that e-cigarettes, as they are currently sold, are dangerous for young children.

The report was based on phone calls made to poison control centers that showed over 51 percent of calls between September 2010 and February 2014 were for young children under five years old. Forty-two percent of the calls were for people 20 and older.

“This report raises another red flag about e-cigarettes – the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes can be hazardous,” said CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden. “Use of these products is skyrocketing and these poisonings will continue. E-cigarette liquids as currently sold are a threat to small children because they are not required to be childproof, and they come in candy and fruit flavors that are appealing to children.”

Published Thursday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the new report said calls over that four-year time span jumped from one to 215 – most likely representing the increased popularity of the electric smoking devices. The report also looked at calls related to e-cigarettes as a part of the total calls made to poison centers and revealed that the percent of e-cigarette calls jumped from 0.3 percent in September 2010 to 41.7 percent in February 2014.

While poisoning from traditional cigarettes is often due to young children ingesting them, poisoning via e-cigarettes typically involves ingesting, inhaling or absorbing the device’s liquid nicotine through the skin or eyes, the CDC said. Calls related to e-cigarettes were also more likely than calls for traditional cigarettes to incorporate some type of adverse effect after exposure, such as vomiting, nausea and eye irritation.

The CDC report was based on information from the poison facilities that assist all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and US territories. In total, poison centers reported over 2,400 e-cigarette and 16,000 cigarette calls from September 2010 to February 2014. The overall amount of poisoning cases is likely greater than what was reflected in this study, the CDC said, because not all exposures might have been reported.

“The most recent National Youth Tobacco Survey showed e-cigarette use is growing fast, and now this report shows e-cigarette related poisonings are also increasing rapidly,” said Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “Health care providers, e-cigarette companies and distributors, and the general public need to be aware of this potential health risk from e-cigarettes.”

Citing the report, the CDC called for creating strategies to monitor and prevent future poisonings related to e-cigarettes, which appear to be rapidly rising in popularity. The CDC added that e-cigarette liquids present the most immediate danger and threat of adverse health effects. They should be considered an emerging public health concern, the government agency added.

While some evidence has shown that e-cigarettes help smokers to quit their habit, a study published last week in JAMA Internal Medicine indicated this is not necessarily true. Based on data from nearly 950 smokers, study researchers found that self-reported e-cigarette use at baseline was not associated with smoking cessation one year later or with a change in cigarette consumption.