Number of kids drinking liquid nicotine going up as e-cigs becom - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

CENTRAL TEXAS

Number of kids drinking liquid nicotine going up as e-cigs become more popular

CENTRAL TEXAS, TX (KXXV) - As e-cigarettes are becoming more and more popular, the number of accidental exposures to liquid nicotine is going up as well.

According to new numbers released by the Texas Poison Center, children are most at risk for accidentally inhaling the toxic chemicals.

In 2013, the study found that 123 cases of accidental ingestion were children, and 2014 could see roughly 300 accidental exposures with most happening right inside the home.

Over the past several years, in part thanks to claims that they're safer than traditional tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigs” as they're commonly known, have become more popular than ever. Many doctors and respiratory experts say they're not so convinced.

“That's still up in the air whether it is or isn't,” Central Texas Poison Center M.D. Ryan Morrissey said. “It's a lot of the same chemicals going in your body."

With the increase in popularity comes a rise in the number of accidental ingestions or inhalations of the refills that go along with e-cigarettes. Specifically, children are now getting a hold of the vials of liquid nicotine and drinking them thinking they're simply juice or candy.

“You know, young, one, two, three-year-old curious mind will open that, get a sip or two and get the equivalent of, in a few milliliters of a taste, ten, twenty, thirty full milligrams of nicotine,” Morrissey said.

That's the equivalent of eating one or two full cigarettes, or smoking one or two hundred. The effects that much exposure can have on a child are alarming.

“So, they can be sweaty and have a fast heart rate and high blood pressure,” Morrissey said. “Maybe shaking or a seizure."

With the dangers so high, especially among kids, doctors and experts are now calling for tobacco companies to repackage the refills so that they are more child-resistant. Until that happens, it's up to parents and adults to make sure their kids don't get a hold of the dangerous chemicals.

“This is a drug,” Morrissey said. “This is something that should be kept high and locked away from children - from young curious minds."

Scott & White along with the Texas Poison Center Network urge anyone who may accidentally become exposed to to much liquid nicotine to call the Poison Control Center.

That number is 1-800-222-1222.  You can also visit www.poisoncontrol.org for more information.
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