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How much do you know about E-cigarettes (e-cigs, juul, e-hookahs, vape pens, tank systems, etc.)?  If you are like me, it wasn’t much until I heard about a child at my son’s school being suspended for possessing one.  Suddenly, I took notice and I am glad I did.

E-cigs work by heating liquid nicotine and turning it into a vapor that can be inhaled or vaped.  Although originally marketed as an alternative for the established smoker, e-cigs have found their way into the hands of our teens.  Here’s why; the devices can be easily disguised as they can look like a pen, a computer memory stick, a key fob, or even an asthma inhaler and are sold in flavors attractive to teens like gummy bear, fruit punch, cotton candy, coffee and chocolate (Bach, 2018).  E-cigs often contain nicotine and although you must be 18 years of age to purchase them, according to the CDC, they are now the most commonly used form of tobacco by youth in the US since becoming available about 10 years ago.  E-cigs are also an affordable option for young adults and teens as they are rechargeable and refillable. The average cost for a 4 pack refill is only about $15.

With so many teens bringing e-cigs into their homes another growing concern is the possibility of younger siblings having access to these devices.  Although the government now requires liquid nicotine to be sold in childproof packaging, they still present a significant risk to young children if swallowed, absorbed into the mucous membranes or spilled on their skin.  A teaspoon of concentrated liquid nicotine can be fatal for the average 26 –pound toddler (Korioth, 2018).

Symptoms of liquid nicotine poisoning:

  • Vomiting
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Jittery and unsteady appearance
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased saliva

According Gary Smith, MD, at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, parents and child caregivers can help children stay safer by following these tips:

  • Store e-cigarettes and refill products where children cannot see or reach them like you would other poisons.
  • Use and refill alone. Do not use e-cigarettes around children.
  • Refill, clean, and dispose of products safely. Clean spills up right away.
  • Adults in households with children younger than 6 years old should be counseled on vaping cessation. Do not use e-cigarettes or related products in the home.
  • Save the national Poison Help Line number (1-800-222-1222) in your cellphone and post it near your home phones.

Poison Control Number 1-800-222-1222

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Bach, Laura (2018, December). Electronic Cigarettes and Youth. https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/factsheets/0382.pdf

Smith, Gary (2018, April). Liquid Nicotine Used in e-Cigarettes Still a Danger to Children Despite Recent Decline in Exposures. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/research/areas-of-research/center-for-injury-research-and-policy/injury-topics/poison/e-cigarettes-and-liquid-nicotine

Korioth, Trisha (2018, December). Liquid Nicotine Used in E-Cigarettes Can Kill Children. www.HealthyChildren.org

CDC, (2017, January). https://www.cdc.gov/features/ecigarettes-young-people/index.html

Cooper, Heather (2017, March). Liquid Nicotine and Kids Don’t Mix. https://pulse.seattlechildrens.org/liquid-nicotine-and-kids-dont-mix/

Written by: Heather Reister, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County, reister.6@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

soda pop flavor e-cig

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