SCHUMER: E-CIGARETTE RELATED POISONINGS, PARTICULARLY AMONG CHILDREN, HAVE SKYROCKETED IN NY THIS YEAR LIQUID NICOTINE LOOKS & SMELLS LIKE CANDY, BUT CAN BE LETHAL IF INGESTED; URGES FEDS TO REQUIRE CHILD-SAFE CAPS & PROMINENT WARNING LABELS ON VIALS
New York State Poison Control Centers Have Received Nearly 70 Calls As of June 2014, a Huge Jump From 46 Calls in All of 2013; CDC Recently Warned That in National E-Cigarette Poison Control Calls Have Jumped from One per Month in 2010 to 200 Per Month in 2014Schumer Calls on the FDA to Require Child-Proof Safety Caps and Clear Warning Labels on E-Cig Liquid Containers As Part of Their Developing E-Cig Regulations Many Parents Do Not Know Dangers Until Child Is Vomiting & Must
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require childproof safety caps and clear warning labels on ecigarette liquid containers in order to address the alarming increase in related poisonings, particularly in children. Ecigarettes are sold in flavors like bubble gum, gummy bear, chocolate and vanilla, making them very attractive to children, and many parents are not aware of the dangerous, potentially lethal nature of this liquid if it is ingested, inhaled or comes in contact with skin. When swallowed or absorbed through skin, it can cause nausea, vomiting, seizures and even death.
Schumer said that the CDC has warned that national poison control calls related to ecigarettes have jumped from 1 per month in 2010 to about 200 per month in 2014, and more than half of ecigarette related poisonings have involved children under the age of five years old. In New York, there have been 68 poison control center calls as of June 2014, a significant jump for the 46 total calls in all of 2013. In order to combat this alarming and growing issue, Schumer is urging the FDA to include in their final ecigarette regulations a requirement that the containers for this potentially lethal liquid be equipped with a child safety cap, similar to prescription medication. The FDA's proposed rule is part of the implementation for the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act which became law in 2009 and extends the FDA's authority over unregulated products that meet the definition of "tobacco product," like ecigarettes. Schumer also noted that the FDA should work with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which also has jurisdiction over such safetycaps.
"With flavors like bubble gum and chocolate, it's no wonder children are attracted to eliquid in the hopes that it's candy. However, the reality is far from sweet," said Schumer. "Ecigarette liquid, which is a potent form of nicotine, can cause nausea, vomiting, seizures and even death if it is swallowed or absorbed through the skin, and sadly, the number of children being poisoned by this dangerous mix is skyrocketing this year. We must do everything to protect our children from potentially poisonous products and that's why the FDA, in partnership with other key federal agencies, should step in and require childproof safety caps on eliquid-just as we do with prescription bottles and cough syrup. The FDA should also require clear warning labels on these products so that parents can better understand the danger of this candyflavored threat."
Ecigarettes are batteryoperated devices that are designed to resemble traditional cigarettes. Ecigarettes contain a mechanism inside the device that heats up liquid nicotine and turns it into a vapor that smokers then inhale and exhale. Unlike conventional cigarettes, however, ecigarettes do not contain tobacco. This key difference has led some to deem ecigarettes safer to smoke - and to be exposed to - than conventional cigarettes, but the recent study in JAMA Pediatrics clearly shows that this is not the case, as these products are leading to increased tobacco use. Many ecigarettes are refillable, and eliquid is sold in small vials that can easily be opened by children that are attracted by the colors and smells of flavors like apple, gummy bear, chocolate, bubble gum and many more.
Nicotine is a neurotoxin, which means that it acts as a poison and affects the nervous system. If the liquid is swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the membranes of the skin, mouth lips or eyes it can cause nausea, vomiting and seizures. Most electronic cigarettes contain between 1.8% and 2.4% nicotine. A 1.8% nicotine solution can be fatal for an individual who weighs 200 pounds, which demonstrates the even great threat this creates for smaller children.
In April 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report related to the dangers of ecigarettes, including a significant amount of attention related to the dangers that the product and eliquid pose. In that report, the CDC said that the number of phone calls to U.S. poison control centers related to ecigarette use has increased from just one call per month on average in 2010 to nearly 200 calls per month in early 2014. The report's author said that though ecigs comprise less than 2 percent of all tobaccorelated sales, they now account for more than 40 percent of poison center calls. More than half of the calls involved children younger than 5 years old. Most of these emergencies are linked to the liquid nicotine within the ecigs. Overall, according to the New York Times, the number of eliquid related cases in 2013 increased to 1,351. This was a 300 percent increase from 2012.
Schumer offered just a few examples of accidental poisonings from this potent mix, which shine the light on the need for childproof lids and warning labels on these eliquid containers. Earlier this year, a ten month old boy from Philadelphia ingested the liquid and was rushed to the emergency room when his heart race increased, he began to vomit and he lost muscle control. In February of this year, a two year old girl from Oklahoma City ingested the nicotine liquid and had to be brought to the emergency room after vomiting. A four year old boy from Oklahoma also ingested nicotine and was forced to go to the emergency room. A woman in Kentucky went to the hospital after her electronic cigarette broke and spilled on her skin and she began experiencing cardiac problems.
In New York City alone, there have been 41 ecigarette related calls to the Poison Control Center so far this year. In 2013, there were 26 ecigarette related cases in the entire year, 13 cases in 2012 and 7 cases in 2011. In Upstate New York, there have already been 27 such calls to date. Schumer noted that these are only calls into poison control centers, and do not necessarily capture individuals that went directly to the hospital or doctors without calling, which is a common occurrence.
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