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Experts Report: E-Cigarette Refills can be Dangerous for Children

Update Date: Sep 09, 2014 11:08 AM EDT

According to health experts, refill cartridges for e-cigarettes can be dangerous for young children. The doctors from Birmingham, United Kingdom stated that children could open these cartridges unknowingly and risk getting nicotine poisoning.

"The exploratory nature of young children and the attractive packaging of refills is a dangerous combination likely to lead to a growing incidence of accidental exposure to concentrated nicotine solution," wrote Dr. Sanjay Gupta, from Good Hope Hospital in Birmingham, and colleagues reported by HealthDay. "The risk posed by nicotine liquid to children needs to be recognized, acknowledged and acted upon by all. This includes public education and legislation to improve the safety profile of e-liquid containers."

In the report, the experts reminded parents about the potential dangers of nicotine poisoning, which, when consumed in large amounts, can lead to fatal consequences. The warning was drafted after a two-year-old girl consumed nicotine liquid by accident. The toddler has fully recovered. The experts stated that e-cigarette cartridges should be treated like liquor, medicines and bleach, which are all dangerous products that children can open on their own.

In the UK, the National Poisons Information Service stated that last year, there were 139 investigations regarding nicotine. In 2012, there were only 29 inquires. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an increase in calls to poison centers regarding liquid nicotine. From September 2010 to February 2014, the number of calls increased from once a month to 215 a month. More than 50 percent of the calls involved exposure to liquid nicotine in children younger than five.

"E-cigarette usage has increased significantly in recent years. The liquid found in e-cigarettes can be very harmful and I would urge anyone who uses e-cigarettes to make sure that the liquids are stored safely, and in particular away from children," Dr. John Thompson, director of the Public Health England commissioned National Poisons Information Service Unit in Cardiff, said according to BBC News.

Signs of nicotine poisoning include burning in the mouth and throat, nausea, dizziness, confusion, weakness, too fast or too slow heartbeat and high or low blood pressure.

The report was published in the journal, Archives of Disease in Childhood.

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