E-cigarette poisoning increases, nearly half of cases reported among children

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Over the last year, Kansas Poison Control received two dozen calls about e-cigarette poisoning; almost half of those cases were children.

E-cig liquids come in hundreds of flavors including bubblegum, peach and gummy bear. Many of which are appealing to children.

“Children of toddling ages are very curious and want to look at everything, smell everything, taste everything,” Tama Sawyer said, Director of Poison Control at KU Medical Center.

Sawyer said if kids get into the e-liquid and drink enough, it could be fatal.

“Generally they vomit so quickly they would get rid of most of what they had in their stomach but they would still need to be seen in an emergency room because we don't know if they got it all up or not,” she said.

Kansas area hospitals received 24 cases of e-cigarette poisoning in 2013, 11 of those were children.

Many e-cigarette users said these alternatives helped their health and ended their smoky odor, but people often don't realize how much nicotine they're inhaling.

Dr. Brian Barash specializes in addiction in children. He's most concerned about the accessibility of e-cigs.

“If you walk into a shopping mall or a movie theater, there have been many reports about schools; these kids have e-cigarettes in their hands,” Dr. Barash said.

He’s also concerned about how easy it is for children to hide the fact that they use them.

“Because kids are probably using these things right under our very noses,” he said.

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