The Minnesota Poison Control System reports 62 children ages 5 and younger were poisoned by e-cigarettes and e-cig juice in 2014. That's a 35 percent jump over 2013 and the second year of significant increases in nicotine poisonings related to e-cigarettes, which can contain deadly levels of nicotine for children.
These figures led the Minnesota Department of Health to issue a nicotine heath advisory Wednesday to inform parents about the health dangers of accidental nicotine poisonings and the dangers of nicotine use among teens and pregnant women.
"Many people think nicotine is addictive but not necessarily harmful on its own for teens and young adults, and that is not the case," said Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger. "We know there are clear health risks of nicotine exposure for youth."
Symptoms of nicotine poisoning
What is a fatal dose of nicotine?
A fatal dose of nicotine for an adult is between 50 to 60 milligrams, and a fatal dose for children is expected to be less. E-cig juice containers can range from zero milligrams up to 34 milligrams or higher.
Nicotine may harm brain development during adolescence, and it can harm fetal brain and lung development in pregnant women.
How children get poisoned
Young children may mistake the e-juice vials for candy or a drink. Poisonings reported in Minnesota include calls where unattended e-cigarette liquids were swallowed, inhaled, absorbed through the skin or came in contact with the eyes.
Preventing e-cig poisonings
A new Minnesota law took effect in January that requires e-cig vials to be sold in child-resistant packaging.
"This past year Minnesota took a big step to keep kids from accidentally ingesting these potentially fatal e-liquids," Commissioner Ehlinger said "But parents should still use caution and store the products out of the reach of children."
Minnesota Poison Control
The poison center is located at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis and is nationally accredited by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Anyone with a poison-related question should call 1-800-222-1222. Service is available free of charge 24 hours a day, and is confidential.