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Poison Center Helpline 1-800-222-1222

E-cigarettes

More children are being exposed to e-cigarettes, especially children younger than 6 years. In the past, IPC received calls about young children eating traditional cigarettes or butts, but never actually smoking them. In recent years, IPC has been getting calls about toddlers and young children taking puffs from e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes may be appealing to children as they often have fruity or other pleasant flavorings or scents.

Parents can take simple steps to keep children safe and minimize the risk of exposure to e-cigarettes:

  • Store and secure e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine refill products in locations not accessible to children (e.g., locked places, such as cabinets or boxes).
  • Do not use e-cigarettes around children, who often mimic and imitate adults.
  • If you have young children, do not to use or store e-cigarettes or liquid nicotine products in the home.

A study in Pediatrics found that children exposed to liquid nicotine are more than five times more likely to be admitted to the hospital and two-and-a-half times more likely to have a severe medical outcome than children exposed to traditional cigarettes.

The dangers of e-cigarettes to children are a concern. In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a final rule that extends its authority to regulate all tobacco products including e-cigarettes, cigars, pipe and hook tobacco, and nicotine gels, among others. The rule prohibits all tobacco product sales in-store and online to persons under age 18. See the FDA’s press release.

If you suspect that your child has been exposed to e-cigarettes, liquid nicotine or other potentially harmful substance, please call IPC at 1-800-222-1222.