Teen e-cigarette use up, liquid nicotine poison calls increase

Aug. 14, 2014 photo. Poison control workers say that as the e-cigarette industry has boomed, the number of children exposed to the liquid nicotine that gives hand-held vaporizing gadgets their kick also is spiking. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that more than 2,700 people have called about a liquid nicotine exposure this year, up from a few hundred cases three years ago. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Aug. 14, 2014 photo. Poison control workers say that as the e-cigarette industry has boomed, the number of children exposed to the liquid nicotine that gives hand-held vaporizing gadgets their kick also is spiking. The American Association of Poison Control Centers reports that more than 2,700 people have called about a liquid nicotine exposure this year, up from a few hundred cases three years ago. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida’s Surgeon General is warning about the dangers of liquid nicotine after seeing an increase of e-cigarette use by teens and calls to poison centers about e-cigarette liquids.

Florida Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong described the increase as an alarming public health concern and calls for increased vigilance from parents, businesses and e-cigarette users to keep these items away from children.

Armstrong says child-resistant packaging on bottles and cartridges of liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes and other nicotine delivery devices is necessary to protect infants and children. If swallowed or absorbed through the skin, liquid nicotine can lead to serious illness or even death.

Related: 5 most common poisons ingested by children

He said the number of calls to poison centers involving e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine rose from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014, according to a study published last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than half of the calls to poison centers due to e-cigarettes involved young children under age 5. The number of calls per month involving conventional cigarettes did not show a similar increase during the same time period.

Armstrong said that adding warning labels on e-cigarettes would be an important step in educating the public about the dangers of nicotine addiction. He added that the number of high school students in the United States who used e-cigarettes tripled in one year.

Armstrong urged the FDA to implement measures that restrict the availability and access of liquid nicotine to those under 18, including containers of liquid nicotine and devices used to deliver liquid nicotine such as e-cigarettes.

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