E-cigarettes and the practice of vaping are often seen as a less-risky alternative to regular cigarettes. And they may be—for adults—but not for children. The liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes has been responsible for poisoning nearly ten thousand kids over the past five and a half years.
A concentrated dose of liquid nicotine can cause severe illness and death. From January 2011 through May 2016, 9,900 children were poisoned by e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine, according to the figures reported to poison centers via the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
Over a 40-month period, from January 2012 through April 2014, accidental exposures by kids to e-cigarettes increased roughly 1500 percent. Children accidentally exposed to e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine were over twice as likely to experience severe medical problems as those exposed to regular cigarettes, and were over five times more likely to be admitted to a hospital or other medical facility. During the time period mentioned, there were comas, seizures, and one death from nicotine poisoning.
In an effort to stem the tide of poisonings, the FDA has stepped in.
FDA’s Authority Now Extends to E-cigarettes
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finalized a rule that subjects tobacco products to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Notably, it includes all electronic nicotine delivery systems (vape pens and e-cigarettes), nicotine gels, all cigars, and tobaccos used in hookahs (water pipes) and regular pipes.
As of August 8, 2016, the FDA will be able to:
- Review proposed tobacco products
- Evaluate ingredients in tobacco products
- Prevent misleading claims by manufacturers
- Make public the potential risks of such products
- Make illegal the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.
It is speculated that the final rule will also bring about new requirements in packaging in order to prevent accidental e-cigarette poisonings in children. However, until that time, children are still at risk.
What Can I Do to Keep My Child Safe?
Parents can use the following tips as a starting point for keeping kids away from liquid nicotine and other vaping supplies. If you have a regular caretaker in your home that vapes, make sure they also know these safety rules:
- Treat liquid nicotine and its refill containers the way you would any other poison: Keep it up high and out of sight, preferably locked up. Don’t leave anything in plain view and able to be easily grabbed, such as on a coffee table or in a car cup holder.
- Refill your e-cigarette and use it only when your child is not around. Why? Because kids like to imitate adults, and will look for an opportunity to do so. Children often find the aromas and colors of e-cigarettes appealing.
- Program the number of the Poison Help Line (1-800-222-1222) into your cell phone, and keep the number posted near all landline or internet phones. Call immediately should your child be exposed to liquid nicotine.
Helping Your Family Move Forward
If your child was injured in an accident, by a household product, or by the negligence of another person, contact a child injury attorney as soon as possible. The right Maryland lawyer will possess the experience, contacts and reputation necessary to properly litigate a complex child injury case. The law offices of Steven H. Heisler focus on representing personal injury victims, including injured children and their parents. Think you might have a legitimate child injury claim? Strict Maryland statutes of limitation mean that your time to file may be limited, so get in touch with the law offices of Steven H. Heisler as soon as possible for more information. Your consultation is no-cost, no-obligation, and completely confidential. Contact us today for more information, either by calling us at (410) 625-4878 or by using our online form.