E-cigarettes Poisoning Children at Alarming Rate

Be careful what you do with your e-cigarette — it can poison your child. A new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found a shocking increase in the number of e-cigarette-related calls to poison centers. Slightly more than half of the involved children were under the age of five.

In September 2010, the rate was about one call per month, representing about 0.3 percent of calls. By February 2014, the rate rose to 215 per month — that’s about 41.7 percent of calls. During the same time period, traditional cigarette-related calls did not increase.

Here’s the problem: e-cigarettes use a liquid that contains nicotine. Children can be poisoned by:

  • ingestion
  • inhalation
  • absorption through eyes or skin

Traditional cigarette poisoning usually occurs when children eat them.

“This report raises another red flag about e-cigarettes – the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes can be hazardous,” CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. said in a press release. “Use of these products is skyrocketing and these poisonings will continue. E-cigarette liquids as currently sold are a threat to small children because they are not required to be childproof, and they come in candy and fruit flavors that are appealing to children.”

The CDC used data from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories. Calls included in the e-cigarette count involved exposure to the e-cigarette or to the cartridge of nicotine liquid that the user inserts into the device. The traditional cigarette exposure count included exposure to cigarettes, but did not include cigarette butts. Calls involving multiple exposures were not counted in this study.

The CDC notes that not all cases may have been reported, so the actual number of cigarette poisoning cases may be higher.

E-cigarette calls are more likely than traditional cigarette calls to involve an adverse reaction. The most common symptoms include vomiting, nausea and eye irritation.

Don’t let e-cigarettes fool you — they can poison your children. Keep all cigarettes out of the reach of children.

If you suspect your child has been exposed to a toxic substance, call your local poison control center. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has established a Poison Help Number: 1-800-222-1222 that will connect you to your local poison center. Keep it programmed into your phone. The Poison Help Line is staffed with trained poison experts; it’s free; it’s confidential; help is available day and night, 365 days a year; and translation services are available in many languages.

Related Reading
Every 8 Minutes a Child Goes to the ER for This
3 Reasons Kids End Up in the ER
E-Cigarettes Don’t Curb Regular Cigarette Use in Teens

Main Post Photo: Goodluz, photographer | iStock collecting | Thinkstock

Infographic: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Greg Baughman
Greg Baughman3 years ago

And yet in 2009 there were 2045 (average) calls per month to the poison hotline for toothpaste poisoning. Yes, toothpaste, marketed in bubble gum and fruit flavors, has KILLED CHILDREN.

... and it's FDA approved.


Greg Baughman
Greg Baughman3 years ago

As real cigarettes are poisonous obviously fake ones would be as well

That's like saying "A real gun will kill people, so OBVIOUSLY a fake one will also!"

Wow... really? You may want to avoid Dihydrogen Monoxide as well. That stuff will kill you. It's in every cancer cell, it's in acid rain.

Read more here!

Greg Baughman
Greg Baughman3 years ago

@Beverly C:
I'm not sure where you get your information from.

The nickle and cadmium is a hundred times less than what you get from drinking out of your faucet.

The formaldehyde has been pretty much de-bunked as something that humans exhale anyway.

I don't know where you got Toluene; this is the first time that I've heard that claim.

There can be no second-hand smoke where there is no smoke to begin with.

Please visit www.casaa.org to deprogram yourself from big Pharma. Thank you. :)

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

Good idea to program THAT number in. You never know when you will need it.

Deny Fell
.3 years ago

Fascinating information I haven’t been experienced such information in quite a long time. stillare rda clone

Anne K.
Anne K3 years ago

Thank you!

Janis K.
Janis K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Beverly C.
Beverly C3 years ago

E-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to smoking regular cigarettes or using any other tobacco product. E-cigarettes are comprised of not only liquid nicotine, other ingredients in them include: Acetaldehyde, Nickle, & Cadmium. Plus, E-cigarettes produce second-hand smoke which when inhaled by the smoker or someone near in proximity to the smoker comes with a load of Formaldehyde, Toluene, & Nicotine. --That some people are leaving E-cigarettes where children can get them is beyond dangerous. Therefore, This Warning Should Be Publicized Everywhere!!!

Margaret B.
Margaret B3 years ago

Common sense, I guess, would tell people not to 'smoke' e-cigarettes in front of children. The message they would be getting would be the same - if mommy/daddy can do it, it must be ok.

Brian M.
Past Member 3 years ago

E-cigs, like regular cigarettes, alcohol, and guns should be kept out of reach of children. Whatever happened to parental responsibility?