More children are being exposed to e-cigarettes, especially children younger than 6 years, according to the Illinois Poison Center.
In 2015, the Center received 131 calls related to e-cigarettes – including 87 calls for children under age 6. In the first quarter of 2016, the center received 25 such calls, including 16 for children under age 6.
The Illinois Poison Center urges parents to take steps to keep children safe and minimize the risk of exposure to e-cigarettes:
• Store and secure e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine refill products in locations not accessible to children (e.g., locked places, such as cabinets or boxes);\
• Do not use e-cigarettes around children, who often mimic and imitate adults; and
• Parents with young children are encouraged not to use or store e-cigarettes or liquid nicotine products in the home.
A new study recently published online in Pediatrics found that from January 2012 through April 2015, poison control centers in the U.S. received more than 29,000 calls related to e-cigarette, nicotine and tobacco product exposures among children younger than 6 years old.
The study, conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Research Institute and Central Ohio Poison Center, both at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, found that e-cigarettes accounted for 14 percent of the exposures, with a nearly 1,500 percent increase in such exposures over the 40-month period.
The study also indicates that children exposed to liquid nicotine are more than five times more likely to be admitted to the hospital and two-and-one-half times more likely to have a severe medical outcome than children exposed to traditional cigarettes.
Concerns about the dangers of e-cigarettes to children continue to grow. On May 5, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a final rule that extends its authority to regulate all tobacco products including e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe and hook tobacco, and nicotine gels, among others.
The new rule prohibits all tobacco product sales in-store and online to persons under age 18.
If you suspect that your child has been exposed to e-cigarettes, liquid nicotine, or other potentially harmful substance, call the Illinois Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.
For more information, visit illinoispoisoncenter.org.