E-cigarettes, vape pens, personal vaporizers, JUULS: these terms describe Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), the use of which are on the rise. They contain a concentrated nicotine solution (“e-liquid”) which comes in a variety of flavors. Initially developed to help smokers quit cigarettes, their popularity among consumers who have never smoked is significant, especially in nicotine-naive adolescents. 11% of teenagers reported regular use of these products in a recent survey. The Centers for Disease Control, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the United States Surgeon General have all concluded that nicotine is dangerous for children at any age. The long-term effects of these products, which contain chemicals and carcinogens such as nitrosamines, are still unclear. Teens who use these products are more likely to begin using other tobacco products. Exposure to nicotine at this early age can also set the stage for addiction.
Worse still, concentrated nicotine liquid in the hands of a toddler can be fatal. Signs of nicotine poisoning include vomiting, agitation, sweating, and seizures. Like all drugs, we urge consumers to lock up the nicotine liquids and do not allow young children to access and potentially swallow it. If you have these products in your home, please be safe and make sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands.
Poison Control Centers handle thousands of calls for nicotine exposure each year. If you or someone you know is experiencing nicotine poisoning, or has been exposed, we can help. Call us right away at 1-800-222-1222.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tobacco Use Among Middle and High School Students—United States, 2011–2016. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2017;66(23):597-603.
US Department of Health and Human Services (2016). E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA. US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health