NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Electronic cigarettes have exploded in popularity with both adults and teenagers.
However, a new study shows young children are getting their hands on e-cigarettes, specifically the liquid nicotine that’s inside.
According to a new study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of the Research Institute and the Central Ohio Poison Center, both at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, found that exposure to e-cigarettes increased by nearly 1,500 percent over a 40-month period.
According to the Associated Press, the research in Monday’s journal Pediatrics says about 14 children per month were sickened by e-cigarettes when the study began in January 2012, and it rose to about 223 per month by the time the study ended in April 2015.
Poison Specialist Scott Muir with the Tennessee Poison Control Center says in the last year he’s answered more calls from parents whose children have ingested liquid nicotine than in years past.
“E-cigarettes are in more households so more children are getting into them,” he said. “They’re fun colors, they see their parents using them, and children are naturally curious.”
The liquid inside, “e-juice,” can have a high concentration of nicotine. It’s dangerous for anyone to drink, especially a small child.
“It’s like a roller coaster ride: in the beginning the child can have anything from vomiting, throat irritation or tremors,” Muir told News 2. “Then later they’ll go downhill. The child will become lethargic, their heart and breathing rate will go down. That’s when we get into trouble and they have to be supported at that point.”
Muir says the only way Tennessee can combat this number is if parents lock up their e-cigarettes and liquid using safes.
“Children are little Houdinis,” he said. “You have to have an actual box with a lock that they definitely can’t get into.”
Still, Muir says the number of children getting into their parents cigarettes or chewing tobacco still surpasses those getting into e-cigarettes.