Electronic Cigarettes Hazardous to Kids’ Health

Scant tablespoon of highly concentrated nicotine could be lethal to a 65-pound child

Blueberry cobbler and chocolate peppermint flavors entice children to try something that could be hazardous to their health—electronic cigarettes. The battery-operated e-cigarettes contain cartridges with flavored nicotine that is inhaled as a vapor, or “vaped.” A scant tablespoon of highly concentrated nicotine could be lethal to a 65-pound child, experts say.

Because e-cigarettes are considered recreational, not therapeutic nicotine products, they are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although touted as safe smoking cessation products, e-cigarettes have no FDA approval for such purposes. Further, FDA lab tests have shown that some e-cigarettes contain nitrosamines, cancer-causing chemicals, and an ingredient used in antifreeze.

The cartoon-like labels and aromatic nicotine cartridges are irresistible to some children. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study revealed that calls to poison control centers tripled from 2013–2014 as a result of children exposed to e-cigarettes.

A reminder: Adults are encouraged to keep all tobacco and nicotine products out of the hands of children.

Sources: American Cancer Society, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia