A child’s death in NY, suspected to relate to liquid nicotine, prompted Charlie’s House, a Kansas City nonprofit organization dedicated to prevent injuries to children in and around the home, to offer some suggestions and request action.
“The vapor, the fuel, for e-cigarettes, typically contains liquid nicotine. When ingested, liquid nicotine is very dangerous, and, at times, could even be lethal. Typically, this liquid nicotine comes in small, colorful bottles, which can be attractive to young children, and, therefore, poses a risk to child safety,” stated John McCarthy, Charlie’s House Executive Director.
What are E-Cigarettes?
Electric cigarettes, better known as E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that are designed to mimic cigarettes by vaporizing a nicotine-laced liquid that is inhaled by the user. They are trendy and the number of stores carrying these devices is vastly increasing.
Sales of e-cigarettes have grown rapidly in the US, doubling every year since 2008, and the industry is entirely unregulated. The vapors come in various flavors and colors, and, to a child, they may appear as candy or a toy. Unfortunately, childproof tops are not always available.
Supporting Mandates on Child-Proof
Charlie’s House supports legislation that mandates child-proof containers for all bottles of liquid nicotine. Currently, there are no FDA restrictions on the amount of nicotine in each bottle, the contents of each bottle, warning labels, or age restrictions to purchase or consume liquid nicotine. We acknowledge those stores that already have self-imposed such standards, and sell liquid nicotine with a conscience.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 60 milligrams of nicotine is enough to kill a
150-pound adult. Some e-cigarette “juice” formulas pack as much as 72 milligrams per refill, so the possibility of tragedy if a child consumes this product is quite obvious, yet not widely known.
Dr. Denise Dowd
ER Physician at Children’s
“It is not a matter of IF, but WHEN a child will die from ingestion of liquid nicotine,” said Dr. Denise Dowd, an advisor to Charlie’s House, and an Emergency Room Physician at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO. “Regulations are needed, but the most immediate need is for parents and caregivers to understand the possible risk these products pose to children. We must get the word out.”
Some states are working on regulations on both the distribution and the use in public places. Kansas and Missouri have not passed any laws on liquid nicotine.
“Liquid nicotine is a drug, a poison, and should be treated as such. Charlie’s House encourages (even begs) parents, grandparents and caregivers of young children to keep bottles of liquid nicotine out of reach of children and locked away, and do not smoke around children,” McCarthy said.
To learn more about child safety, view a video on the hazards of liquid nicotine, and review Charlie’s House Safety Quick Fact list, please visit www.charlieshouse.org.