E-cigarettes are getting more and more popular as an alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes, but the liquid nicotine used in e-cigs can have devastating effects on children.
KENNEWICK, WA - E-cigarettes are getting more and more popular as an alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes, but the liquid nicotine used in e-cigs can have devastating effects on children.
The main message parents should know is to keep e-cig liquid nicotine bottles away from their kids. Just a few drops of the liquid can be deadly. So children should stay away from the liquids that they sometimes mistake for something sweet.
"Variety of flavors, colors, there's appealing labels, some have smiley faces, cartoon characters, those are the kinds of things that are going to appeal to children," said Kathleen Clary-Cooke, Benton Franklin Health District.
If kids get their hands on the liquid nicotine, it doesn't take much to send them to the ER and it can have devastating effects on their body.
"It doesn't have to be swallowed. It actually can pass through you skin. A few drops will actually send them to the emergency room. They'll have difficulty breathing. They might have a seizure. Sometimes it even results in paralysis," Clary-Cooke said.
Just two teaspoons worth of liquid nicotine can be fatal for a child.
E-cig shops sell the liquid as an adult product and only sell to people 18 and older.
"Educate your kids, hey this isn't for you. This is for grown-ups. This is to help Momma not smoke because I love you and I want to be here when you grow up," said Sarah Witter, Tri-City Vaperz.
The Washington Department of Health says that claims e-cigs are healthier than their tobacco counterparts are not proven to be true and the FDA does not regulate e-cigs currently.
Whatever you think about e-cigs, health experts agree that liquid nicotine needs to be kept away from kids to prevent fatal accidents.
In 2013 there were 81 calls to the Washington Poison Center for e-cigs or liquid nicotine.
This product is spreading quickly through the market, but health experts are hopeful it doesn't lead to an increase in preventable medical complications or deaths.