More and more young children get poisoned with e-cigarettes, according to a new study that based its conclusions on the increasing number of U.S. poison center calls.
In the vast majority of the cases, children ingested liquid nicotine, which sometimes led to severe complications, such as seizures and comas.
For the study, researchers examined calls to poison centers about exposure to nicotine and tobacco products, but only involving children under the age 6. The records from January 2012 through April 2015 were examined and the resulting study published in the journal Pediatrics.
If you’re wondering why children are attracted to swallow these products, researchers found it’s because of the colorful packaging and flavored nicotine of the e-cigarettes.
Senior author Dr. Gary Smith, head of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, called the situation “an epidemic by any definition.”
In reaction to the unsettling news, the study’s authors call for better parent awareness in terms of keeping the devices out of the reach of young kids. Even though most of the children quickly recovered, one child reportedly died after ingesting liquid nicotine.
Between January 2012 and April 2015, the number of monthly calls regarding young kids inhaling, swallowing, or touching e-cigarettes rose from 14 to 223. During the study period, a total number of 4,128 cases were examined; most children were 2 years old or younger.
The study’s authors also urged stricter regulations and restrictions issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) be put in place. Last week, the FDA required federal review of the devices and their ingredients.
The agency also plans to supplement the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention law by requiring child-resistant packaging and nicotine exposure warnings on the labels.
The Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention rule will take effect this summer and it will require that liquid nicotine containers be child-resistant.
Dr. Joan Shook, chief safety officer at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, who was not involved in the study, called the poisonings “a huge public health issue.”
It’s a real problem that many e-cigarette users don’t treat these products as medication or toxins and they don’t keep them out of reach of children. Attractive flavors could mean poison in homes with children.
Image Source: Flickr
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