E-cigarettes are attractive — and dangerous — to children

On behalf of Paul J. Ganim P.C. posted in Products Liability on Friday, May 20, 2016.

Electronic cigarettes, more popularly known as e-cigarettes, have become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional cigarettes. However, they are not without their own dangers — particularly when young children get ahold of them. E-cigarettes convert liquid nicotine into an inhalable vapor.

The nicotine in the battery-operated devices can harm children if they touch, inhale, or swallow it. The nicotine, which is flavored, can be attractive to young children, as can the colorful packaging.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that adults call a local poison center if their child has been exposed to an e-cigarette. Indeed, calls to poison centers involving such exposure have increased in recent years.

The effects on children generally involve jittery behavior and vomiting and usually, these symptoms subside within a couple of hours. However, in rare cases, children have had to be hospitalized with more severe complications such as breathing problems, seizures, and comas.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is looking at increasing restrictions on e-cigarettes. Proposed regulations include making the packaging more child-resistant and adding nicotine exposure warnings.

Pediatricians have also expressed concern about the dangers of e-cigarettes in the hands of children. They have called for more warnings to parents about keeping them where children can’t see or reach them.

One doctor at Texas Children’s Hospital says, “If you use these products, you need to treat them as medication or toxins and keep them closed, locked, and out of reach of children.” A physician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio called the problem of e-cigarette poisoning in children “an epidemic by any definition.”

If your child has been harmed by exposure to an e-cigarette, it may be worthwhile to find out what your legal options are.

Source: Peoria Journal-Star, “E-cigarette poisonings surge in young children, study says,” Lindsey Tanner, AP, May 09, 2016

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