E-cig nicotine poisoning on the rise

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ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Cotton candy, candy canes, caramel popcorn—most kids live for sweets, but those hard-to-resist flavors are now made for products that could be deadly if a child gets a hold of it.

The New Mexico Poison Center said as the popularity of e-cigarettes is on the rise, so is the number of nicotine poisonings.

Health educator at the Poison Center, Jacqueline Kakos, said those sweet smells and flavors are attracting kids.

The Poison Center went from just one report of nicotine poisoning from an e-cig in 2010 to 23 in 2013. That number is expected to keep growing along with the popularity of the product.

“We have already had three, already for 2014,” Kakos said.

Cigarette juice bottles can range from five milliliters to 50, with nicotine levels sometimes the equivalent of multiple cigarettes.

Some of the bottles have child-proof caps, similar to the caps on pill bottles, others do not.

“Something to pay attention to when you’re looking at safety are the caps. This one can be opened easily. “Signs of nicotine poisoning include flushed skin, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, nausea, vomiting,” Kakos said.

Electronic cigarette store owner Jonathan Lomax said e-cigs are not the problem.

He blames a lack of common sense.

“People smoke. They leave their cigarettes on the table, parents or something,” Lomax said. “Don’t leave it out if there is some nicotine in it where your kids could pick it up and use the device.”

The New Mexico Poison Center said, depending on the nicotine level, it would only take a mouthful of so-called cigarette juice to harm a child. Even just touching it can irritate their skin.

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