December 18, 2014 — ABC News reports that a 1 year-old child in New York has died after being poisoned by liquid nicotine, the active ingredient in e-cigarettes.
Police reported that the toddler was found unresponsive at home in Fort Plain, New York, and was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The police said the death is believed to be a “tragic accident.”
There are many factors contributing to this emerging health threat:
- E-cigarettes are more popular than ever, especially among teens and young adults.
- There are no prominent warnings on liquid nicotine, unlike traditional cigarettes.
- Liquid nicotine is often sweet-smelling, in flavors like gummy bear or cotton candy, which appeal to children.
- Containers are rarely child-proof, and may actually look like toys in colorful squeeze-bottles.
- Even small amounts can cause life-threatening side effects.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC):
“One teaspoon of liquid nicotine could be lethal to a child, and smaller amounts can cause severe illness, often requiring trips to the emergency department. Despite the dangers these products pose to children, there are currently no standards set in place that require child-proof packaging.”
Two weeks ago, the AAPCC warned that calls regarding e-cigarette and liquid nicotine exposures increased 219% between 2012 and 2013. By November 30, 2014, the organization received 3,638 reports of exposure — including ingestion, inhalation, absorption through skin or eyes, poisoning, overdoses, etc.
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