E-Cigarette Poisonings May Increase as Vaping Gains Popularity

By: Rick Pietzak

Vapor stores are popping up around the country as the subculture of “vaping” grows.  The term refers to e-cigarettes that emit a vapor–like mist instead of smoke.  Some non-smokers and smokers looking to quit have adopted the e-cigarette habit as an alternative to smoking.

It remains unclear whether or not e-cigarettes are safe when used properly, but they have significant risks when the liquid nicotine is accidentally ingested or exposed to the skin.  The recent death of a child in New York after drinking the fluid from an e-cigarette highlights the dangers of e-cigarettes to children.

cig“We have been fortunate in western Pennsylvania that we have not had any significant e-cigarette-related exposures reported to the Poison Center, but it is just a matter of time,” said Michael Lynch, M.D., medical director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center at UPMC.

Calls for accidental exposure to the Pittsburgh Poison Center have continued to rise steadily since 2009.

“A teaspoon of liquid nicotine can kill a child. E cigarettes can be flavored, and that makes them all the more tempting to kids and pets,” said Dr. Lynch.

The Pittsburgh Poison Center advises parents to treat e-cigarettes like any harmful household chemical by storing them and the refills out of reach of children, preferably in locked containers.  If you have questions related to e-cigarettes, contact the Poison Center at 1(800) 222-1222.