E-Cigarettes

Written by Jayne S, RN, BS, CSPI

Electric cigarettes, also known as E Cigs, have become popular in the past few years.  These use liquid nicotine which comes in various strengths.  Vials may range from zero milligrams per one milliliter up to 36 milligrams per one milliliter. In comparison, a traditional cigarette may contain from 8 mg to 20 mg of nicotine.

The liquid nicotine is available in many flavors, such as candy, fruit or dessert.  It is easy to see how a curious child might be tempted to taste something that smells like bubble gum, peppermint or fruit juice. But liquid nicotine can be very poisonous and toxicity may result if this product is spilled on the skin as well as from ingestion.  Symptoms may include nausea and vomiting, and in increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Nicotine can even be deadly, causing seizures and paralysis of the breathing muscles, so an exposure should be taken very seriously.

Immediately flush the skin with water for a skin exposure and call the Indiana Poison Center.  It is recommended to call the Indiana Poison Center for any ingestion for liquid nicotine.  The poison center has experts who are available 24 hours a day so never hesitate to call 1-800-222-1222.

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