The number of calls to poison centers involving e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine rose from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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Just over half of the calls (51.1%) related to e-cigarettes involved children under 5, and 42% were made by, and on behalf of, those ages 20 and older. Poisoning involved ingestion, inhalation or absorption through the skin or eyes.

The analysis compared total monthly poison center calls involving e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes, and found the proportion of e-cigarette calls jumped from 0.3% in September 2010 to 41.7% in February.The number of calls per month involving conventional cigarettes — which usually involve young children eating them — did not show a similar increase.

“This report raises another red flag about e-cigarettes — the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes can be hazardous,” said CDC director Tom Frieden, in a statement. “Use of these products is skyrocketing and these poisonings will continue. E-cigarette liquids as currently sold are a threat to small children because they are not required to be childproof, and they come in candy and fruit flavors that are appealing to children.”

The study examined all calls reporting exposure to conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or nicotine liquid used in e-cigarettes. Poison centers reported 2,405 e-cigarette and 16,248 cigarette exposure calls from September 2010 to February 2014.

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