Federal health officials say poisoning from e-cigarette liquids on the rise


Federal health officials say poisoning from e-cigarette liquids on the rise

By Joyce Lupiani. CREATED Apr 4, 2014

Last month, Now Trending told you about the possible dangers of the liquids, known as e-liquids, that are used in electronic cigarettes.

Since then, a new report has been issued by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that says even more people are getting sick.

Health officials say there has been a surge in liquid nicotine poisonings tied to e-cigarettes.

Experts say the liquid can be harmful to adults and even deadly to children if consumed orally. It can also be harmful if absorbed through the skin. The most common adverse health effects are vomiting, nausea and eye irritation.

Poison control officials say more than half of the calls received about possible nicotine poisonings involve young children. However, about 42 percent involved people 20 and older. This is despite the fact that sales of e-cigarettes represent less than two percent of all tobacco-related sales.

Phone calls to poison centers related to liquid nicotine poisoning rose from one per month in September 2010 to 215 a month by February of this year, according to the report.

When e-cigarettes were first introduced, the nicotine was contained in a cartridge of a disposable cigarette that looked like a traditional cigarette. Since then, e-cigarettes have evolved into trendy wands that are often decorated or customized, and are meant to last for more than a few dozen puffs.

The e-liquid is often brightly colored, and comes in candy and fruit flavors such as strawberry, butterscotch, chocolate, apple, blueberry, gummi bear,  cotton candy and bubble gum. That attracts young children, who may be unable to read warning labels and do not realize that the liquids could be dangerous.

Jason Healy, the president of e-cigarette manufacturer Blu-cigs, told ABC News that the concerns about e-liquids are overblown and called the findings in the report "a weak argument" against the devices. He also claimed the report is evidence of "an ongoing attack on the e-cigs industry by various anti-smoking groups."

At this time, there are no quality-control guidelines or regulations on e-cigarettes or e-liquids. The bottles that the e-liquids come in are not required to be childproof.

Many people argue that e-cigarettes help people kick conventional smoking habits. However, evidence against that argument is mounting. A small study published last month in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine reported that is not true.

Another study in the same journal suggests that people who use e-cigarettes, specifically teens, are more likely to become regular cigarette smokers.

It should be noted that not all e-liquids contain nicotine. Most brands do offer e-liquids with zero nicotine. However, it has been reported that those liquids are a small percentage of the sales.

Joyce Lupiani

Joyce Lupiani

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Joyce Lupiani, who is based in Las Vegas at KTNV-TV Channel 13, is a contributor to NowTrending.com.