Poison center calls involving e-cigarettes increasing nationally

By: Kevin Hurd Email
By: Kevin Hurd Email

Wisconsin Poison Center Hotline: 800-222-1222

"Anytime we see an increase in a poison call we have lots of concerns, that's the point where prevention is not happening anymore," said Lieske Giese, the Eau Claire City-County Health Department Director.

She says there is cause for concern in new national numbers released by the CDC.

It says poison control center calls involving e-cigarettes have risen significantly over the past four years. In 2010, on average, poison control centers each received one call a month involving e-cigarette poisoning. By February of 2014, that number jumped to 215.

Even more alarming, the CDC says about 52% of those poison calls were for kids under the age of five. It says they either inhale, ingest or get the liquid nicotine substance in their skin or eyes.

"Having that kind of increase with something like this liquid product that kids are getting their hands on, it's really frightening and it's something we need to pay attention to," Giese said.

Dr. David Gummin, Medical Director of the Wisconsin Poison Center, says so far our state has caught a break.

"There seems to be some significant regional variation in where those calls are coming from," he said.

He says in the past year, the Wisconsin Poison Center has only gotten 14 calls about e-cigarettes poisoning. But that is up from seven the year before.

One concern he says is right now the products in e-cigarettes are not regulated.

"And the FDA is getting the message about increased exposures, and I'm aware they are looking into a process for potentially regulating it," he said.

Giese meanwhile worries that there is nothing stopping Wisconsin from catching up to the new national average for poison center calls.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see the number of poisonings in Wisconsin go up significantly," she said.


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