Police report that a one-year-old child died in Fort Plain, New York, after ingesting liquid nicotine, used in e-cigarettes.
The child was found unresponsive and rushed to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead, ABC News reports. A statement from Fort Plain police called the death a “tragic accident.”
Health officials are worry that there could be more fatalities like this one. The increased popularity of e-cigarettes has meant an increase in the availability of liquid nicotine, and it comes in bright colors and candy-like flavors that appeal to young children. “One teaspoon of liquid nicotine could be lethal to a child, and smaller amounts can cause severe illness, often requiring trips to the emergency department,” the American Association of Poison Control Centers said in a statement today. Liquid nicotine does not have to be sold in childproof packages
In November the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that the number of dangerous “exposures” to liquid nicotine has skyrocketed in recent years with 3,638 exposures as of Nov. 30. This is more than double the 1,543 exposures reported in 2013 and exponentially higher than the 271 exposures reported in 2011. Exposure means coming into contact with liquid nicotine through ingestion, inhalation, or by absorbing the substance through the skin, according to ABC News.
Dr. Donna Seger, director of the poison control center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said her center is getting more calls about exposure to e-cigarettes or liquid nicotine. Seger said just a small amount of nicotine can cause dangerous symptoms – including seizures – in children. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported an increase in calls to poison control centers about children becoming sick from exposure to liquid nicotine. The most common symptoms are vomiting, nausea or eye irritation, ABC News reports.
E-cigarettes are not federally regulated and e-liquid comes in a wide range of strengths, from potent high-grade liquid to liquid with an extremely small amount of nicotine.
Some state legislatures have introduced bills to require e-cigarette companies to put child-resistant caps on bottles of liquid nicotine. New York State has passed a bill that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign soon, according to WABC-TV.