Docs say e-cigarettes cause sickness in kids

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Experts say more kids than ever before are getting sick from e-cigarettes, specifically from the liquid inside them.

And, with a large enough amount of nicotine, they say even adults can have serious health problems.

E-cigarettes are especially dangerous, they say, because people think they’re safe, but they can cause nicotine poisoning. The Indiana Poison Center is concerned about kids using e-cigarettes because they come in flavors like watermelon, apple pie and strawberry.

Director Dr. James Mowry with the Indiana Poison Center said this flavored liquid is what’s making kids sick. He said the concentration isn’t regulated, so doctors aren’t always sure what besides nicotine is in the fluid.

Year after year, the organization says, nicotine poisoning is on the rise. In 2012, it handled 16 cases; in 2013, that jumped to 40 cases; so far in 2014, it’s handled 24 cases.

“Now that the refills are so available that now we’re seeing children getting the refills,” Dr. Mowry said. “It’s actually easier to get the nicotine liquid out of a refill than it is out of the actual cigarette cartridge itself.” Problems like nausea, vomiting and dizziness are common in kids.

Dr. Mowry said, for anyone who’s ingested a large enough amount, seizures, low heart rate and blood pressure are possible. Nicotine poisoning can even paralyze respiratory muscles making a person unable to breathe.

The poison center urges users to keep the liquid locked away. Some containers are childproof, but those aren’t required by law.

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