Over the last three years, the total number of incidents across the United States of children consuming highly toxic liquid nicotine and other e-cigarette products increased 15-fold. E-cigarette poisonings in children five and under continue to increase, but there may be hope.
According to Forbes a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics examined the frequency of e-cigarette poisonings in preschoolers, finding a staggering 1,500% increase from 2012 to 2015. Severe side effects of poisoning from e-cigarettes were over two and a half times more likely to occur than poison exposures from other tobacco products.
"Unfortunately, in this country we treat our children like canaries in a coal mine," Dr. Gary Smith, senior study author and director of the Center for Injury Research & Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, told Forbes. "We have all these new products coming out — many of which are safe and great — but some are highly dangerous to young children, and it isn't until they're out on the market and we start to see numbers like this study reports when we finally say, 'Whoops, gee, we have to think about our young kids.'"
Many of the products involved in the poisonings are byproducts of the until-recently unregulated industry when liquid nicotine products were able to create flavors like "Cap'n Crunch" and package products without child-proof safety measures.
That's all changing, however, due to developing national legislation, as well as the federal government stepping in to regulate e-cigarettes. The federal oversight coincides with the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act, passed in January 2016, mandating liquid nicotine bottles are manufactured with child-resistant packaging.