A new study reveals that the number of e-cigarette poisonings among children has skyrocketed over the past few years.
Researchers examining data gathered under the National Poison Data System say that the number of poison helpline calls about children under the age of six who have been exposed to nicotine in e-cigarettes rose by almost 1,500 percent between 2013 and 2015. Their results were published this month in the journal Pediatrics.
The greatest risk of exposure surrounding e-cigarettes comes from the liquid inside the devices, due to its high concentrations of nicotine. While cigarettes made up about 60 percent of nicotine exposures for children — and e-cigarettes about 14 percent –very young children appear to be at especially high risk. 44 percent of reported e-cigarette exposures occurred in children under the age of two.
When researchers examined the health impacts of this exposure and compared it to nicotine exposure from cigarettes, e-cigarettes appeared to be more harmful. This study suggests that the risk of serious health issues as a result of e-cigarette exposure was 2.5 times greater than that of traditional cigarettes.
“This is an epidemic by any definition,” says senior author Gary Smith of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “This is another example of a highly toxic product being introduced to the market without regard to child safety.”
This research follows last week’s FDA ban on the sale of e-cigarette products and cigars to young people under the age of 18. The legislation finally brought national rules on e-cigarettes and other nicotine delivery systems into line with those already in force on traditional cigarettes.