The Fort Plain, New york police called the death a “tragic accident” after investigating the case of a 1-year-old who was rushed to the hospital after being found unresponsive in his home. The toddler died from ingesting liquid nicotine, also known as e-liquid, the key ingredient in e-cigarettes.
A lot of smokers, including teenagers, are switching from regular cigarettes to e-cigarettes and are now getting their nicotine fix by inhaling a vapor. However, e-cigs are expensive and in an effort to cut costs, many will purchase vials of liquid nicotine to refill their e-cigarette; sort of like buying a carton of cigarettes instead of a couple of packs a day.
Liquid nicotine contains high levels of concentrated nicotine. It doesn’t take but a little bit to make someone very sick. The powerful stimulant can be accidently ingested or absorbed through the skin. Even a teaspoonful of e-liquid can kill a child. Lesser amounts can cause seizures and other dangerous symptoms.
Like cigarettes, liquid nicotine should always be kept out of the reach of children and pets. Many of the vials come in bright colors with flavors such as bubblegum, strawberry, vanilla and chocolate - kids will be tempted to taste it. E-liquids are not regulated and do not have childproof caps. If carelessly left where a child or pet can find it, the results can quickly turn deadly.
Health officials are concerned that more fatal accidents could happen if steps aren’t taken to protect children.
"One teaspoon of liquid nicotine could be lethal to a child, and smaller amounts can cause severe illness, often requiring trips to the emergency department," the American Association of Poison Control centers in a statement, ABC News reported. "Despite the dangers these products pose to children, there are currently no standards set in place that require child-proof packaging."
In recent years, there's been a sharp rise in the number of liquid nicotine-related calls to U.S. poison control centers. Signs of consumption of liquid nicotine can include vomiting, increased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, convulsions and, in extreme cases, loss of the ability to breathe or death.
The police in this case, said they weren’t sure that the e-liquid that killed the toddler was associated with an e-cigarette and so far, no charges have been filed in the death of the child. It was just a tragic accident.
Recent studies point out that electronic cigarette use is on the rise with high-school students. Some teens say they are using them to help stop smoking, while others are giving them a try for the first time- even though they don’t smoke. Researchers noted in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey, that even middle-school student use rose from 2.7% to 3% in 2013.
How do kids purchase liquid nicotine? It’s readily available on the Internet. All you do is fill in a birth date and you’re in. You can buy a gallon of the stuff if you have the money. You can also purchase little bottles to fill from your bulk buy. It’s that simple.
While adults may be more likely to keep their liquid nicotine vials put away, teens don’t often think of the consequences of leaving theirs on the floor, on a desk, on the bed, in a purse on the sofa, in a backpack on the kitchen table – wherever they usually drop their stuff - for a small child to find.
In New York, the toddler’s death has prompted a call for changes in how liquid nicotine is packaged; requiring childproof caps and someone must be least 18 years old to purchase it at a store.
This is not a pro or con e-cigarette use article. It’s a warning for anyone that uses liquid nicotine to be very aware of where you leave your vial. This may have been the first reported case of a toddler dying from nicotine poisoning; let’s all do our part to make it the last.