Most people associate poisons with household cleaning supplies or chemicals in the garage or used in yard work, but it is so much more than that. In the past several years, electronic cigarettes have become more popular and calls to poison control centers have dramatically increased. In 2012, that number of calls was fewer than 100 cases. In 2014 the number skyrocketed to 4,000.
Liquid nicotine used in the devices is very toxic and children coming in contact with the liquid, either by getting it on their skin or consuming it, have become very ill requiring ER visits. In the past year one toddler has died after consuming the liquid. Adults can also suffer skin irritations, become poisoned or die from the liquid if consumed.
At this time, most liquid nicotine is sold in bottles without child-resistant caps and the sweet flavors and brightly colored containers draw the interest and curiosity of young children. Many states are in the process of requiring liquid nicotine be sold in child-proof packaging. But whether the liquid nicotine is in a child-proof container or not, always keep this product out of the reach of children. If they don’t see you using the product, they may not develop an interest in it. Always dispose of these materials in a manner in which young children can not retrieve it.
While electronic cigarettes pose a serious poisoning risk, traditional tobacco cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are also dangerous if ingested. Look around your neighborhood, a park or the beach and you can see discarded butts littering public areas. Although the bitter taste may stop a child from totally ingesting the butt, the filter can pose a choking hazard, and the nicotine toxins trapped in the filter can seriously sicken a young child or an animal. A young child may think putting smokeless tobacco in their is normal, especially after watching a family member, but the nicotine levels in smokeless products are high and could poison a child. Leaving a spit can or bottle in easy access of a child can also pose a poisoning situation.
Accidents do happen, no matter how careful you may be, so keep the toll-free Poison Help Line number (800-222-1222) close to your phone or programmed into your mobile device in case of an emergency. Read “50+ Poisoning Prevention Tips” for more information to help safeguard your family.