E-cigarettes pose poisoning risk

Community Connections Tobacco Free Lincoln County (TFLC) reminds residents that tobacco and other nicotine products are a poisoning risk to children. That includes the liquids used in e-cigarettes.

George Haws, coordinator of TFLC, said that a very small amount of the liquid nicotine used to refill e-cigarettes can be deadly for a child.  Many of the liquids have fruity flavors and aromas, which can make them especially attractive to children, he said. He added that people are sometimes poisoned by spilling the liquids on their skin.

Haws said if someone is exposed to liquid nicotine, either on the skin or through the mouth, the Nebraska Regional Poison Center should be called immediately, at 1-800-222-1222.

An alert issued by American Association of Poison Control Centers said that, throughout the country, there were 3,073 calls about e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine in 2015. Over half of the calls were about children under the age of six.

 “It’s very important that parents and caregivers keep ALL tobacco and nicotine products out of reach of children,” said Haws. He said nicotine can cause vomiting, nausea, lethargy, gagging, a pale or flushed appearance, difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, seizures and even death.

Help is also available to people who want to quit using tobacco products and/or e-cigarette, said Haws. They can call the Nebraska Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) or go to QuitNow.ne.gov.  People can also take advantage of free classes offered by Great Plains Health, by calling 696-7530.