E-cigarettes have gained so much popularity, they are somewhat of a worldwide phenomenon. While they can be a helpful device for quitting real cigarettes, the public often overlooks the dangers of these devices. We have made an effort to discuss the dangers of e-cigarette usage in the past. As these products continue to sweep the nation, more and more research exposed some of their unsafe qualities. Recently, a study found a new hidden menace lurking within these devices: an increase in cases of nicotine poisoning in children that can be linked to e-cigarettes.
The study focused on analyses of calls to poison control centers. The study found that the number of children poisoned by nicotine in e-cigarettes increased by over 1500% between the years of 2013 and 2015. That’s just in the span of two years. The worst part? The children mentioned in the study were all under 6 years old. On top of that, over 90% of the nicotine poisoning cases were not from inhalation, but instead from direct ingestion of the “juice” used to create e-cigarette vapor.
E-cigarettes are most often used as a nicotine delivery system that does not hold the same cancerous qualities as a traditional cigarette. Since these devices do not require the use of tobacco, many users of the device prefer a more palatable flavor to the standard default smoke “flavor” of a traditional cigarette. These flavors are often brightly colored, and mimic the flavors and scents of fruits, candies, and desserts. Needless to say, these flavors and scents can be particularly appealing to children. E-cigarette juices can come in several different levels of nicotine content, some of which can go up to several times that of an average traditional cigarette.
Nicotine poisoning is essentially an overdose of nicotine. Depending on a person’s height and weight, a lethal dosage of nicotine can be between 500 to 1000 milligrams. The closer a person gets to these numbers, they will start to feel ill. These numbers shrink for children, making them more susceptible to poisoning with lesser amounts. Children who ingest e-cigarette juice are getting an ultra high dosage of nicotine. This can be fatal. On top of this, nicotine in its liquid form is more heavily concentrated. This means it will be absorbed into a child’s body much faster that if it was in a vaporized form.
While the FDA has finally put forward some regulation on these devices, the e-cigarette market is still heavily saturated with multitudes of flavors, batteries, and modifications for these devices. Much of the time, these juices and the devices themselves do not have proper warnings for usage, storage, and potentially harmful effects to children.