E-cigarettes are controversial these days, following public vaping bans in the US' three biggest cities. The issue? We don't know yet if they're bad for you or not. But one thing that's definitely, indisputably bad for you: Drinking e-cigarette juice.
The New York Times has a nice story about an unintended consequence of the rising e-cigarette trend. An increasing number of people are poisoning themselves on the nicotine juice you use to refill the tanks on e-cigarettes. As a proponent of the technology, I admit I'd never considered the possibility that colourful liquids that look and smell like candy might be dangerous for kids. Though the juice thankfully hasn't proven fatal yet, toddlers have been getting into the goop with increasing frequency.
Examples come from across the country. Last month, a 2-year-old girl in Oklahoma City drank a small bottle of a parent's nicotine liquid, started vomiting and was rushed to an emergency room.
That case and age group is considered typical. Of the 74 e-cigarette and nicotine poisoning cases called into Minnesota poison control in 2013, 29 involved children age 2 and under. In Oklahoma, all but two of the 25 cases in the first two months of this year involved children age 4 and under.
The solution seems pretty simple: Keep the stuff out of the reach of children and outfit the little bottles with a hard-to-open caps like the ones used on medicine bottles. I know the bottle I'm holding in my hand right now requires a little downward pressure to open, but I don't know that it's definitely child proof. They all should be.
E-cigarettes are not prohibited in Australia, although they are not allowed to advertise or suggest any therapeutic benefit. It's important to note that liquid nicotine, as used in e-cigarette atomisers, is classified as a Schedule 7 poison, like arsenic and chlorine. Contact Quitline for more information on how to get help quitting cigarettes. [NYTimes]