SALT LAKE CITY – Nearly 50 Utah children were poisoned last year by drinking juice used to make smokeless vapors used in e-cigarettes.
Utah Poison Control officials saw about 9 poisoning cases in 2012, but in 2013 the number of cases tied to the juices jumped to 47.
The refill liquid is cheap, and it is appealing to children because it smells good and tastes good. The juice has highly concentrated amounts of nicotine, as well as other chemicals. Swallowing the juice can lead to anything from stomach cramps to fainting.
Marty Malheiro, Utah Poison Control, described the potential dangers of nicotine.
"In children, nicotine is a very serious poisoning,” she said. “It’s actually similar to any medication overdose. Whereas in adults, their bodies can adapt to nicotine, in children, they can’t. They don`t have the metabolism, they’re smaller bodies, so it’s an extremely serious poisoning that we need to catch early."
Aaron Frazier is the director of Utah Vapers, and he said last year they started requiring all of their retailers to use child-proof caps that have proper labeling.
"Much like alcohol, tobacco, chemicals, things like that--a lot of those products don't have child proof caps or any sort of preventative measures on them,” he said. “We wanted to do everything we could as an industry to not let ourselves get to the level of poisonings you see through common household products, so we've introduced this in the last year and almost all shops in the state are actually already doing this.”
Frazier said people should store the juices out of reach of children, as is prudent with medications or other substances that pose a potential danger to children.