E-Cigarette Nicotine Poisoning Cases Going Up

Paul Gutierrez

OMAHA (KPTM) - E-Cigarettes are marketed as the safe alternative to cigarettes, but there's an alarming new trend that should put every parent who uses an e-cigarette on high alert.

"It doesn't take that much nicotine to get somebody toxic," said Dr. Ron Kirschner, the medical director at the Nebraska Regional Poison Center. "What we're seeing is that more and more children are ending up in emergency rooms."

Dr. Kirschner told FOX 42 News Friday that nicotine poisoning among children between the ages of one and three is going up. Some poison centers are even reporting a 900 percent increase in cases.

"The issue is with the electronic refills. They come in a variety of flavors, they have aromas and they come in pretty packaging, so they're a lot more appealing for small children to put in their mouths."

If that scares you, health experts at Creighton say you don't even have to swallow the stuff to notice something wrong.

"You spill a bottle or something like that and squeeze it and it gets on your skin that's going to cause problems," said Shavonne Washington-Krauth, a tobacco cessation coordinator at Creighton University. "Even if it gets on your skin and you don't ingest it you're still going to feel the effects."

Washington-Krauth adds it's important to recognize the warning signs.

"They may get hyper, have a rapid heart rate, they may breathe a little faster and feel a little dizziness."

They're the kind of symptoms that could turn deadly if you're not cautious enough.

If you think you or your family needs help, you're urged to call the poison center right away at (800) 222-1222. Operators are on standby 24 hours a day and seven days a week.