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Preventing E-cigarette Poisoning in Children

Written By Timothy Knight on 3/9/15 | 3/9/15

Editor's Note: Our friends at the The Child Fatality Review Team, which is a committee in Schoharie County comprised of members from community agencies dedicated to child safety, requested that we post the following article on the necessity of preventing E-cigarette poisoning on children.

Poisoning is the leading cause of death from injuries in the U.S. and 9 out of 10 deaths are caused by drugs. Between the years 2010 and 2014, e-cigarette exposure calls to Poison Control totaled over 3,000. Exposure to carcinogens for children under 5 has increased from 7 in 2010 to over 2,000 in 2014.

An E-cigarette (otherwise known as e-cig, personal vaporizer) is a lithium battery-powered vaporizer which resembles cigarettes and simulates smoking. It delivers a vaporized propylene glycol/nicotine mixture into the user’s respiratory system as a vapor (instead of smoke). Vapor is created from heating the liquid nicotine mixture that is contained in the cartridge.

Vaping means to inhale and exhale the vapor produced by an e-cig. While vaping does not produce second hand smoke, it has been shown that e-cigs are a source of secondhand exposure to nicotine. While safer than cigarettes, there is still exposure to some carcinogens.

The liquid (e-juice) is what is most poisonous. It contains a mixture of propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine and flavorings. The liquid comes in bright colors, candy and fruit flavors that appeal to children. Currently, there are no requirements to make the containers childproof. It only takes a few drops absorbed through the skin or swallowed to result in an emergency room visit and only 1/3 ounce can be fatal to a child.

If you use e-cigarettes or know someone who does, please take precautions and treat it like any other poison in your home. Lock it up and place it out of the reach of children. Keep the National Poison Help Line number by your phone or stored in your cell phone 1-800-222-1222.


For additional information on general child safety topics, contact the Schoharie County Child Fatality Review Committee Coordinator at 295-2016. We are dedicated to keeping children safe and alive.
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