Upstate Poison Center Backs AG Call for Warnings, Safety Measures for Liquid Nicotine

Oct 1, 2015

The liquids used in e-cigarettes and vaping devices contain nicotine and are causing poison scares when people, often toddlers, ingest the liquid.

  The Upstate Poison Control Center is receiving an increasing number of calls about toddlers unintentionally ingesting the liquid from E-cigarettes. In 2014 more than 3700 exposures to liquid nicotine were reported to poison control centers nationwide. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports, this year that number has already topped 2200. 

Upstate Poison Control Center Clinical Director Christine Stork says even small amounts of exposure, especially among toddlers, can present consequences.

“Our highest age group for unintended exposures are those toddlers, about one-and-a-half to three years old who are doing a lot of their exploratory hand-to-mouth activity and whatever it is that’s going to be around, they’re just going to stick it in their mouths.” 

Data shows a dramatic increase in poison control center calls for liquid nicotine exposure. (NOTE: AAPCC DATA FOR 2014 WAS REVISED TO 3783 CALLS)

  New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman joined 32 others urging the Food and Drug Administration to require warning labels on liquid nicotine and e-cigarettes, which account for roughly 25-% of nicotine exposures. The A-G’s also want the F-D-A to make the packaging child resistant.  Stork agrees keeping small hands out of harmful products has helped.

“I certainly thinks the packaging issue would go a long way to help our unintentional child playing with the package-type exposures where just a tiny amount is enough to cause pretty severe toxicity.  Historically we know making things harder to get into, for the toddler group, does impact exposures.”

Although the long term risks of liquid tobacco products are unknown, these products do, of course, contain nicotine and other toxic byproducts.  Stork says vapors from products like e-cigarettes evaporate quickly, but still have toxic second-hand exposure.