With the increased popularity of e-cigarettes and related products, calls to poison control centers have dramatically increased with incidents of accidental exposure to vaping liquids by young children. During a 40-month period from 2012 to 2014 there was an approximate 1,500 percent increase in poison control calls of e-cigarette incidents with children under 6 years of age, reports MedPage Today.
The accidental exposures to vaping liquids were over five times more likely for children to be admitted to a medical facility than incidents with traditional cigarettes and more than twice as likely to have severe medical outcomes, according to Dr. Gary A. Smith of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Center for Injury Research and Policy in Ohio.
“These are not trivial exposures. There were comas, seizures, and even one death in the 40-month period we studied, and these exposures were predictable and preventable,” Smith told MedPage Today. Dr. Smith called last week’s announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that e-cigarettes and vaping products would now be regulated, a “huge step forward.”
“Children are being exposed in the home to these highly toxic products that have no child-resistant packaging, and that come in flavors which are highly attractive to them, like bubble gum and ‘Captain Crunch,’” said Smith.
From January 2012 through April 2015, the National Poison Data System received 29,141 calls for nicotine and tobacco product exposures among children under 6, averaging 729 child exposures per month. Cigarettes exposure accounted for 60.1 percent of these calls, followed by other tobacco products at 16.4 percent and e-cigarettes at 14.2 percent.
Most exposures were due to ingestion at 95.5 percent, and of the incidents when access was known, close to 45 percent when products were stored in sight of the child. Over three-quarters of these children were under 2-years old, reports MedPage Today.
A potential study limitation may lead to underestimation of the frequency of pediatric exposures as NPDS data captures only voluntarily reported cases to poison control centers. The potential for data miscoding by the poison specialists was cited, as well.