Poisonings linked to liquid in e-cigarettes
Electronic cigarettes have surged in popularity over the last few years. They have become a popular means of getting a nicotine dose without the actual smoking of a traditional cigarette. While they have helped many people wean from cigarette use and sometimes quit smoking all together, there are new health issues arising with e-cigarettes.
Poisonings linked to the refill liquid are on the rise, experts say. In February alone, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported 215 e-cigarette related poisoning calls as compared to 2010 where the average monthly call related to the devices was just one.
The refill liquid is a concentrated form of nicotine. It’s highly toxic and what’s worse, it comes in colorful liquids and flavors like bubblegum, banana, and spearmint which attract children, the CDC said. Fifty one percent of the 215 calls in February were regarding kids age 5 and younger. The toxic liquid causes severe vomiting and in some cases, death. There have even been reports of suicide from injecting the liquid.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not currently regulate electronic cigarettes. Poisoning can occur from inhaling the liquid or absorbing it through the skin or eyes. This means that even spilling it on the skin while refilling an e-cig can poison you.
There is a lack of legislation on e-cigarettes and perhaps introducing childproof packaging would be beneficial in reducing the number of poisonings, at least in children.
There is particular danger when smokers combine both regular cigarette smoking and the new alternative way of puffing.
Additionally, the CDC has warned that if smokers choose to puff both common and e-cigarettes, they may be raising their chances of harming their health.
“If large numbers of adult smokers become users of both traditional and e-cigarettes — rather than using e-cigarettes to quit cigarettes completely — the net public health effect could be quite negative,” said Tim McAfee, from the CDC in a recent statement.
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