Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Smoking Cessation Health Center

Font Size

Liquid Nicotine in E-Cigarettes Rising Cause of Poisonings: CDC

Calls to poison control centers have jumped, ingestion could be deadly for kids, experts report


In the meantime, McAfee advised keeping these devices, and their refills, out of the reach of children.

"These should be treated with the same caution one would use for bleach. In some ways, this is more toxic than bleach," he said.

Poisoning from the liquid nicotine in e-cigarettes can happen in one of three ways: by swallowing it; inhaling it; or absorbing it through the skin or membranes in the mouth and lips or eyes, McAfee said. Once it is in a person's system, nicotine can cause nausea, vomiting or seizures.

If those symptoms are occurring, the patient will typically be told to go straight to the emergency room, said Amy Hanoian-Fontana, from the Connecticut Poison Control Center.

If there are no symptoms, then the patient will be told to stay home and the center will call again in a few hours to see how the patient is doing. If liquid nicotine was spilled on the skin, the person should wash his or her skin in lukewarm water for about 20 minutes, Hanoian-Fontana added.

"We want to know what happened, when it happened and if the person is having any effects from the liquid nicotine," she explained. "Then we are going to make a determination whether this is something we can keep at home, or if they are having severe symptoms we may recommend that they go into the emergency department. It's very case-based, depending on the situation."

McAfee noted that the nicotine poisoning problem may be even bigger than the CDC report indicates.

"All we are reporting is calls to poison control centers. There are many people who had an episode, but didn't call a poison control center. This report also doesn't include people who had such severe symptoms that they called 911 or went to an emergency room," he said.

The report is published in the April 4 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

As part of the study, the researchers compared the monthly volume of calls to poison centers involving e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes. They found the proportion of e-cigarette-related calls jumped from 0.3 percent in September 2010 to 41.7 percent in February 2014.

Today on WebMD

hands breaking a cigarette
Is quitting cold turkey an effective method?
14 tips to get you through the first hard days.
smoking man
Surprising impacts of tobacco on the body.
cigarette smoke
What happens when you kick the habit?

Filtered cigarettes
an array of e cigarettes
human heart
Woman experiencing withdrawal symptoms

man smoking cigarette
no smoking sign
Woman ashing cigarette in ashtray
chain watch