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Infant Who Swallowed E-Cigarette Refill Liquid Highlights Emerging Danger: Report

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Doctors in Philadelphia say a 10-month-old infant who was rushed to the emergency room after swallowing e-cigarette refill liquid is one of a growing number of children who have been harmed by the fluid.

In this week’s New England Journal of Medicine, the doctors describe the incident. The child recovered, HealthDay reports. But just “one teaspoon of a 1.8 percent nicotine solution could be lethal” to a person who weighs 200 pounds, the doctors note.
The baby boy was taken to the hospital after swallowing a small amount of e-liquid nicotine. He began vomiting after drinking the liquid. His heart rate increased and he showed signs of losing muscle control. His symptoms gradually subsided after about six hours in the hospital.

“With the growing use of e-cigarettes, physicians need to be alert for nicotine poisoning,” the doctors wrote. “They also need to educate patients and parents about this danger and advocate for measures that will help prevent potentially fatal liquid nicotine poisoning of infants and young children.” The liquids do not come in child-protective packaging, and many refill vials have colorful labels and cartoons, they noted.

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported poison control centers are receiving an increased number of calls about nicotine poisoning from e-cigarettes. This February, centers received 215 calls, compared with about one per month in 2010. About half of calls related to nicotine poisoning from e-cigarettes involved children ages 5 or younger.

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