Monday, June 25, 2018
Health

E-cigarette poisonings surge in young children, study says

CHICAGO — Electronic cigarettes have sickened rising numbers of young children, a study of U.S. poison center calls has found. Most cases involve swallowing liquid nicotine.

While most kids weren't seriously harmed, one child died and several had severe complications including comas and seizures.

"This is an epidemic by any definition," said lead author Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

The researchers say the results highlight a need for better parent awareness about the importance of keeping the devices out of sight and reach of young kids. They also recommend stricter regulation and applauded long-awaited restrictions the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued last Thursday.

The study examined poison center calls about exposure to nicotine and tobacco products among children under age 6 from January 2012 through April 2015. The most worrisome findings involved e-cigarettes — battery-powered devices that turn nicotine into an inhalable vapor. Some feature colorful packaging and flavored nicotine that can attract young children.

The results were published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

THE NUMBERS

Monthly calls about young kids' swallowing, inhaling or touching e-cigarettes climbed from 14 early on to 223 by the study's end. Calls totaled 4,128 during the study. Most children were age 2 or younger.

The cases represent 14 percent of the nearly 30,000 calls about kids' exposure to nicotine and tobacco products during that time.

THE HARM

Liquid nicotine in e-cigarettes can harm young children if swallowed or absorbed into the skin. Vomiting, a quickened heartbeat and jittery behavior are among the symptoms. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends calling poison centers if exposure is suspected.

Most exposures to e-cigarettes were managed at home. Among those who received medical care, less than 3 percent were hospitalized. About 2 percent, or 77 kids, had severe complications including seizures, coma or breathing problems.

Most affected children had symptoms lasting two hours or less.

COMMENTS

Dr. Joan Shook, chief safety officer at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston and head of the American Academy of Pediatrics' emergency medicine committee, called the poisonings "a huge public health issue."

"Many emergency physicians are going, 'What the heck, this is really a problem, why aren't they doing anything about it?'" she said.

"If you use these products, you need to treat them as medication or toxins and keep them closed, locked and out of reach of children," said Shook, who wasn't involved in the study.

Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, noted that more recent data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers indicate that exposures to liquid nicotine may be on the decline. However, the most recent numbers don't indicate whether the decrease includes young children. He said most vaping liquid products use child-resistant packaging.

NEW RESTRICTIONS

The FDA rules issued last week will require federal review of the devices and their ingredients, imposing restrictions similar to those affecting traditional cigarettes. The agency intends to issue rules to require nicotine exposure warnings and child-resistant packaging. That action would supplement the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention law, which takes effect this summer and will require child-resistant packaging of liquid nicotine containers.

Comments
Bayfront Health to acquire Seven Rivers Medical Center in Crystal River

Bayfront Health to acquire Seven Rivers Medical Center in Crystal River

Bayfront Health is acquiring the Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center in Crystal River. Community Health Systems, which owns six Bayfront Health hospitals along Florida’s Gulf Coast from Brooksville to Venice, is one of the nation’s largest owners an...
Updated: 4 hours ago
ScART program empowers people to explore their scars and express their feelings through art

ScART program empowers people to explore their scars and express their feelings through art

ST. PETERSBURGShyly, 8-year-old Annabelle Brassfield climbed atop a stool in front of a blank easel, grabbed a brush she named Scarlet and prepared to paint her scars. After three open heart surgeries for a severe congenital heart defect, she’s left ...
Published: 06/22/18
Enjoy Israeli Couscous, Swiss Chard and Peppers warm or at room temperature

Enjoy Israeli Couscous, Swiss Chard and Peppers warm or at room temperature

By Katie WorkmanIsraeli or Mediterranean couscous are tiny balls of toasted semolina pasta that plump up when cooked into toothsome, slightly less tiny balls of pasta. They make a great base for a side or salad. You can make the couscous according to...
Published: 06/22/18
‘BE AWARE’: Pasco mom posts to Facebook after son’s caterpillar sting leads to ER trip

‘BE AWARE’: Pasco mom posts to Facebook after son’s caterpillar sting leads to ER trip

ZEPHYRHILLS — The Pergolas’ Saturday morning volunteer work started like most, at a farm cleaning the property and trimming trees. Andrea Pergola, 38, stood on the driveway of the property when she heard her 15-year-old son Logan scream. At first, sh...
Published: 06/20/18
Moffitt receives $1 million donation from Richard Gonzmart

Moffitt receives $1 million donation from Richard Gonzmart

TAMPA — Runners gathered for the Gonzmart’s Father’s Day Walk and Jog where they raise money to help aid in Moffitt Cancer Center’s fight against prostate cancer. This year the event raised $110,000, but Moffitt had another surprise in store.Andrea G...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

GENEVA — Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual worlds. The World Health Organization says they now should be on guard for a danger in the real world: spending too much time playing. In its latest revision to a disease class...
Published: 06/19/18
Funded by Alcohol Industry, Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down

Funded by Alcohol Industry, Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down

The extensive government trial was intended to settle an age-old question about alcohol and diet: Does a daily cocktail or beer really protect against heart attacks and stroke?To find out, the National Institutes of Health gave scientists $100 millio...
Published: 06/16/18
More than a third of American adults take prescription drugs that may increase risk of depression, study says

More than a third of American adults take prescription drugs that may increase risk of depression, study says

More than a third of American adults are taking prescription drugs, including hormones for contraception, blood pressure medications and medicines for heartburn, that carry a potential risk of depression, according to a study published in the Journal...
Published: 06/12/18
It’s time to use the stingray shuffle to avoid a nasty sting

It’s time to use the stingray shuffle to avoid a nasty sting

Courtney Bilyeu was running toward the murky water alongside a few military officers when it happened.She was an accountant for the U.S. Navy at the time. And on her way to take a swim with some coworkers in a California beach, she saw blood. The wat...
Published: 06/12/18
It’s important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days, ophthalmologists say

It’s important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days, ophthalmologists say

The next time you head to the drugstore to buy sunscreen, don’t forget to pick up some sunglasses, too. That’s because both products work to protect your body from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays.Wearing sunglasses for protection should not be re...
Updated one month ago