Report: E-Cigarette Poisonings Skyrocket, Mostly in Kids

NBC News -- Calls to U.S. poison control centers about people sickened by e-cigarettes containing liquid nicotine have soared in the past four years, climbing from just one a month in 2010 to at least 215 per month this year, federal health officials said Thursday.

More than half of the poisoning reports involved children younger than 5, including many kids drawn to the nicotine-laced liquids flavored like fruit, bubble gum and soda pop, which come in containers ranging from small vials to multi-gallon jugs that are not required to be childproof.

E-cigarettes — battery-powered devices that let users inhale nicotine-infused vapors — now account for more than 40 percent of all poison center calls about cigarette-type products, according to a report published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This report raises another red flag about e-cigarettes — the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes can be hazardous,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a statement. “Use of these products is skyrocketing and these poisonings will continue.”

Between September 2010 and February 2014, there were 2,405 calls about e-cigarettes to the nation’s 55 poison control centers, and about 16,248 calls about conventional cigarettes, the study found.

E-cigarettes — and the liquids used to refill them — are not regulated by the federal Food and Drug Administration, though stakeholders in the growing $1.5 billion industry are anxiously awaiting a proposed rule that could give the agency new authority.

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