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Liquid Nicotine: Teaspoon of E-Cig Substance Could Kill a Child

Image: Liquid Nicotine: Teaspoon of E-Cig Substance Could Kill a Child liquid nicotine solution is poured into a vaping device at the Henley Vaporium in New York.

By Morgan Chilson   |   Monday, 24 Mar 2014 05:19 PM

A teaspoon of liquid nicotine, the dangerous chemical unregulated by the federal government that is used to fill electronic cigarettes, could kill a child, The New York Times reports.

The liquids are often flavored — cherry, chocolate, or peach schnapps, for instance — and come in bright packaging that may attract children. Just a small amount of the liquid nicotine, either ingested or absorbed through the skin, can harm children and adults, causing seizures and even death.

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The director of the Kentucky Regional Poison Control Center told the Times that many parents don’t realize how dangerous the chemical is.

Accidental poisonings by liquid nicotine are climbing, with a 300 percent increase in calls to poison control centers from 2012 to 2013, the Times reported.

“It’s not a matter of if a child will be seriously poisoned or killed,” Lee Cantrell, director of the San Diego division of the California Poison Control System told the Times. “It’s a matter of when.”

It’s not just children who are at risk. There was a case in Kentucky where a woman’s e-cigarette broke, and she absorbed enough of the liquid through her skin to send her to the hospital with cardiac symptoms.

The Times referred to liquid nicotine as “a new kind of recreational drug category,” and said the Food and Drug Administration has reported plans to regulate the industry.

“It’s the wild, wild west right now,” Chip Paul, chief executive officer of Palm Beach Vapors, an e-cigarette company, told the Times. “Everybody fears FDA regulation, but honestly, we kind of welcome some kind of rules and regulations around this liquid.”

Companies that sell the products often report the dangers on their websites and encourage users to take care in handling the liquid.

“Nicotine can kill a child, a dog, or even an adult. An average lethal dose (LD50) of nicotine is about 30mg for an adult, 10mg for a child, and even less for a pet. (This is an estimate only),” says liquid nicotine-selling website Sweet Vapes.

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