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article imageNumber of children poisoned by E-cigarettes has skyrocketed

By Karen Graham     May 9, 2016 in Health
The number of children under the age of six poisoned by the nicotine found in E-cigarettes soared an astounding 1,500 percent between 2013 and 2015, according to data collected from the National Poison Data System.
Health experts have been concerned about the long-term effects of E-cigarettes since they were introduced about 10 years ago. To date, there are an estimated nine million people using them.
There has been an unwanted health effect from E-cigarettes that has turned into a nationwide problem in its seriousness, and that is the number of young children six-years-old and under who have been poisoned with them. ABC News reports that the number of children exposed to these products rose from 14 in January 2012 to 223 in January 2015.
In a report published on Monday in the medical journal Pediatrics, researchers from the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio used data collected from the National Poison Data System. They focused on calls about exposure to nicotine and tobacco products in children under the age of six.
They then compared E-cigarette exposures to tobacco cigarettes and other tobacco products, mainly snuff and chewing tobacco. According to the study reports CNN, "Over the 40-month study period, more than 17,500 children were exposed to cigarettes, and more than 4,000 children were exposed to e-cigarettes or liquid nicotine."
It needs to be noted that while the number of exposures to E-cigarettes was much smaller than to real tobacco products, the consequences were far greater in their severity. Children exposed to E-cigarettes were 5.2 times more likely to be hospitalized and 2.6 times more likely to have a severe reaction than with exposure to regular cigarettes.
"Liquid nicotine is very concentrated and easily absorbed into the body," explained the senior author of the study, Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital, "and can cause serious poisoning and death among young children after even small doses."
"In this study," Smith said, "children exposed to e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine more commonly experienced severe clinical effects, such as seizure, coma, and respiratory arrest, than children exposed to cigarettes."
Forbes reports that Dr. Smith says that with the enticing packaging and variety of flavors in E-cigarettes, we shouldn't have them laying around for youngsters to find and put in their mouths. Making child-resistant containers and educating the public is needed.
Surprisingly, Ray Story, the founder, and CEO of the e-cigarette industry group Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association, says it is not up to the industry to keep these products out of the reach of children, and besides, nicotine is not the only harmful substance found in homes today. He added that if the FDA wanted to do something about the problem, they should have required child-proof packaging in the first place.
"If you look at some of the commercials currently, it says lock up your laundry detergent because these things look like candy," Story told ABC News. "It becomes the responsible parental thing to do." Story added, "We are trying to serve the adult population and provide them with a [more] healthy alternative. We expect the adult population to handle this product with care."
The paper, "Study finds 1,500% increase in monthly poison center calls due to e-cigarettes," was published in the American Academy of pediatrics journal on May 9, 2016.
More about ecigarettes, nicotine poisoning, Children, New study, poison control centers
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