Press Release

AAPCC and Poison Centers Issue Warning About Electronic Cigarette Devices and Liquid Nicotine

March 25, 2014 | Download PDF

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The American Association of Poison Control Centers and the experts at America’s 55 poison centers are urging the public, especially parents, to use caution when using e-cigarette devices and highly concentrated liquid nicotine and to keep them up and away from children, according to John Fiegel, AAPCC interim executive director.

Poison centers are reporting a recent uptick in calls about exposures to e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine. In 2013, AAPCC found 1,414 reported exposures to either e-cigarette devices or liquid nicotine; through March 24, 2014, there have been 651 reported exposures. Slightly more than half of these reported exposures have occurred in young children under the age of six. However, this is consistent with National Poison Data System exposures to all substances combined.  Some children and toddlers who come in contact with e-cigarette devices or liquid nicotine have become very ill; some even requiring ER visits with nausea and vomiting being the most significant symptoms. Adults should use care to protect their skin when handling the products, and they should be out of sight and out of the reach of children. Additionally, those using these products should dispose of them properly to prevent exposure to pets and children from the residue or liquid left in the container.  

“When it comes to concentrated liquid nicotine, the danger is not just ingestion but with simple contact with the skin,” said Ashley Webb, director of the Kentucky Regional Poison Center. “We want to increase awareness about the potential toxicity of these products and emphasize that these concentrated products are significantly toxic in very small doses. With any new product, we expect to see an increase in the number of calls to poison centers. However, we are more concerned when the product involved has such a high potential for causing injury.”

The American Association of Poison Control Centers recommends the following steps:

  • Protect your skin when handling the products.
  • Always keep e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine locked up and out of the reach of children.
  • Follow the specific disposal instructions on the label.
  • If you think someone has been exposed to an e-cigarette device or liquid nicotine, call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222 immediately.

For the most up-to-date data, please visit the AAPCC Alerts section at www.aapcc.org/alerts.

PLEASE NOTE:  All NPDS data reported by the American Association of Poison Control Centers for 2013 and 2014 are considered preliminary because it is possible that a poison center may update a case anytime during the year if new information is obtained.

For more information, the media may contact Brett Schuster, AAPCC Associate Manager, Public Relations and Government Affairs, at 703.894.1859 or schuster@aapcc.org.

The AAPCC supports the nation’s 55 poison center members in their efforts to treat and prevent drug, consumer product, animal, environmental and food poisoning. Members staff the Poison Help hotline at 1-800-222-1222 that provides free, confidential, expert medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year from toxicology specialists, including nurses, pharmacists, physicians and poison information providers. In addition, the AAPCC maintains the only poison information and surveillance database in the United States, providing real-time monitoring of unusual poisoning patterns, chemical exposures and other emerging public health hazards. The AAPCC partners with federal agencies such as HRSA, the CDC and EPA, as well as private industry.

To learn more, visit www.aapcc.org, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or read our blog at aapcc.wordpress.com. To join your voice with other poison center supporters, register for the AAPCC advocacy network at www.capwiz.com/aapccclick on “Action E-List.”

For More Information

  • Brett Schuster

    • Associate Manager, Public Relations and Government Affairs
    • Email: schuster at aapcc dot org
    • 703-894-1865

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