Study in U.S poison centre found that electronic cigarettes have sickened rising numbers of young children. Most cases involve swallowing liquid nicotine.

Most of the kids are not seriously harmed, one child died and several had severe complications including comas and seizures.

Lead author Dr. Gary Smith director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio said “This is an epidemic by any definition.”

Parents should keep distance of the devices between their kids. The researches also recommend stricter regulation and applauded long-awaited restrictions the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued last Thursday.

The study examined poison centre calls about exposure to nicotine and tobacco products among children under age 6 from January 2012 through April 2015. The most worrisome findings involved e-cigarettes — battery-powered devices that turn nicotine into an inhalable vapour. Some feature colorful packaging and flavoured nicotine that can attract young children.

Swallowing, inhaling or touching e-cigarettes by the kids climbed from 14 early on to 223 by the study’s end. Calls totalled 4,128 during the study. Most children were age 2 or younger.

The cases represent 14 per cent of the nearly 30,000 calls about kids’ exposure to nicotine and tobacco products during that time.

THE HARM

Liquid nicotine in e-cigarettes can harm young children if swallowed or absorbed into the skin. Vomiting, a quickened heartbeat and jittery behavior are among the symptoms. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends calling poison centres if exposure is suspected.

Most exposures to e-cigarettes were managed at home. Among those who received medical care, less than 3 per cent were hospitalized. About 2 per cent, or 77 kids, had severe complications including seizures, coma or breathing problems.

Most affected children had symptoms lasting two hours or less.

NEW RESTRICTIONS

FDA say that it is require federal review of the devices and their ingredients, imposing restrictions similar to those affecting traditional cigarettes. The agency intends to issue rules to require nicotine exposure warnings and child-resistant packaging. That action would supplement the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention law, which takes effect this summer and will require child-resistant packaging of liquid nicotine containers.

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