Increasing Number of Children Being Poisoned by Liquid Nicotine

2 min read

Aug. 3, 2023 -- Thousands of children are being exposed to the dangers of liquid nicotine in e-cigarettes each year, and the number of exposures reported reached an all-time high last year.

Doctors say a 2016 law aimed at lowering the risk contained a big flaw, NBC News reported. The Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act required child-resistant packaging on vaping liquid – but not on the vaping devices themselves.

Contact with the vaping liquid, or liquid nicotine, can cause children to get dizzy, pass out, and suffer drops in blood pressure. A few drops of the liquid can be fatal for a toddler.

Last year, 6,731 cases of vaping-related nicotine exposure were reported, according to Poison Help. “As of June 30, 2023, poison centers have managed 3,863 exposure cases about e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine,” the organization said.

“Poison centers began receiving calls about e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine products in 2011, which coincides with the initial period where these products reached the U.S. market,” Poison Help said.

“These products often contain a greater concentration of nicotine, a stimulant, than other nicotine/tobacco products on the market. Some children and toddlers who come in contact with e-cigarette devices or liquid nicotine have become very ill; some even requiring emergency department visits with nausea and vomiting being the most significant symptoms.”

Toxicologist Ryan Marino, MD, told NBC that refillable vapes are designed to hold liquid nicotine in a central reservoir, making them dangerous to kids.

“Even vapes that appear more child-resistant — because their nicotine is sealed inside a removable cartridge — present a risk, because the cartridges can be pried open,” NBC said. “And some disposable e-cigarettes, now the top-selling type on the market, allow users to take thousands of ‘puffs’ and contain as much nicotine as multiple packs of cigarettes.”

A spokesperson for the vaping industry said all e-liquid bottles made in this country conform to U.S. law.

“Not only are the caps child-resistant, but the flow of liquid is restricted so that only small amounts can be dispensed,” said April Meyers of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association, which represents the vaping industry.