Posted By: Camila Orti
Electronic cigarettes have been sweeping the nation, growing in popularity as an alternative to smoking, but an unseen danger has been growing, too.
The Nebraska Regional Poison Center reports seeing nine times as many calls for e–cigarette poisoning.
Representatives say in a majority of the cases, small children are drinking the liquid inside the device and becoming sick.
"In 2012 we had five calls on e–cigarettes, in 2013 we had 52," R.N. with the Poison Center, Joan Mcvoy said.
That's a 900 percent increase in cases specific to the liquid in electronic cigarettes.
"Those cartridges that smell like watermelon or chocolate or cotton candy, they're attractive to small children and parents just need to be careful and understand they can be highly deadly," Mcvoy said.
It doesn't take much. Mcvoy says 30 milligrams of nicotine can send a child to the emergency room. Some of the smallest cartridges can contain nearly double that.
"A mouthful on a small child we consider 5 mLs, and so some of these products contain 84 mg per mL, so if you think about that that's a huge amount if a child just gets a mouthful of it," Mcvoy said.
The liquid refill bottles could pose an even bigger threat. Some can contain up to 50 ml of e-cigarette juice. Luckily, most refill bottles come with child-proof lids.
The health risks are serious. Nicotine poisoning can cause vomiting, seizures and even death.
"If you do use the e–cigarette cartridges just make sure you get these up, out of reach and out of sight so that little kids can't get to them," Mcvoy said.
If you think you or someone you know has swallowed any amount of e-cigarette liquid, contact the Nebraska Regional Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.