Tobacco & Liquid Nicotine

Each year, America’s poison centers manage thousands of cases of acute exposures to tobacco and liquid nicotine products.

Each year, America’s poison centers manage thousands of cases of acute exposures to tobacco and liquid nicotine products. In 2014, there were about 14,000 such cases reported to poison centers, nationwide.

Examples of the types of tobacco and liquid nicotine-related exposures reported to poison centers include (but are not limited to):

  • A child swallows a cigarette butt he found on the ground.
  • An adult accidentally rubs liquid nicotine into her eyes after refilling an e-cigarette cartridge.
  • An adolescent experimenting with smokeless tobacco swallows a mouthful of the product.
  • A child tastes liquid nicotine because it has a pleasant smell.

Aside from the many health risks associated with tobacco product use, acute exposures like those described above can be very dangerous, even deadly.

Click here to read AAPCC's press release on the FDA's extension to regulate e-cigarette and additional nicotine products 

If someone, especially a child, swallows any type of tobacco or nicotine product or gets one of these products in his or her eyes, call Poison Help at 1 (800) 222-1222 right away for immediate, expert, and confidential help, 24/7/365.

Of particular concern to poison centers is the recent, dramatic increase in children’s exposures to liquid nicotine (a.k.a. “e-juice”), which is used in electronic cigarettes. If you are interested in national liquid nicotine monthly exposure counts, please visit AAPCC's E-Cigarettes & Liquid Nicotine Alerts page. Also, view the archived webinar on preventing e-cigarette poisoning in children from our partners at the Children’s Safety Network. Finally, AAPCC has issued several press releases on this topic.1-3

Tobacco use in any form elevates the risk of developing several different serious illnesses including cancer, and is harmful to those in the tobacco user’s environment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. Use of tobacco products among adolescents is especially worrisome because the earlier a person begins smoking, the longer he or she will do so. In addition, nicotine, the addictive component of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes, has a negative impact on adolescent brain development.4-6

For these reasons, AAPCC supports efforts by its partners and others to prevent tobacco use among the nation’s youth.

What can you do to prevent tobacco and nicotine-related injury and illness for yourself and your loved ones?

  • QUIT. Help ensure a safe environment for your children and set a good example by not using tobacco. If you are a tobacco or liquid nicotine user, consider quitting. When parents quit smoking, their children are less likely to start. We know that quitting can be difficult. After all, nicotine is highly addictive, but there are numerous resources to help you quit for good.
  • PROTECT. If you do chose to smoke, chew, or use e-cigarettes, there are several things you can do to help ensure the safety of those around you.
    • Do not smoke, chew, or vape around your children, and keep your home and car smoke-free.
    • Always store any tobacco or e-cigarette product up, away, and out of sight of kids.
    • Take caution when disposing of any tobacco or liquid nicotine product. Dispose of these products in a way that does not make them available for ingestion by children or pets.
    • Save the Poison Help number--1 (800) 222-1222--in your mobile phone and post it in your home in case someone accidentally ingests a tobacco or liquid nicotine product or gets one of these products in the eyes.
  • TALK. Research shows that young people are more likely to be tobacco free if they know their parents don’t want them using tobacco and would be disappointed if they did. This is true even if their parents use tobacco.4 Make a point of telling your children that you don’t think they should use any tobacco or liquid nicotine products, and talk to your child about pressures from their friends to use tobacco. Don’t wait for your youngster to initiate the conversation. For more information on how to have these challenging conversations, read more here. Also, check out Right Decisions Right Now, a free, evidenced based program for use in your child’s middle school.








7 Chassin, L., Presson, C., Rose, J., Sherman, S. J., & Prost, J. (2002). Parental smoking cessation and adolescent smoking. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, vol. 27(6), pp. 485-96.

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