To investigate the epidemiologic characteristics and outcomes of exposures to electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), nicotine, and tobacco products among young children in the United States.
A retrospective analysis of exposures associated with nicotine and tobacco products among children younger than 6 years old was conducted by using National Poison Data System data.
From January 2012 through April 2015, the National Poison Data System received 29 141 calls for nicotine and tobacco product exposures among children younger than 6 years, averaging 729 child exposures per month. Cigarettes accounted for 60.1% of exposures, followed by other tobacco products (16.4%) and e-cigarettes (14.2%). The monthly number of exposures associated with e-cigarettes increased by 1492.9% during the study period. Children <2 years old accounted for 44.1% of e-cigarette exposures, 91.6% of cigarette exposures, and 75.4% of other tobacco exposures. Children exposed to e-cigarettes had 5.2 times higher odds of a health care facility admission and 2.6 times higher odds of having a severe outcome than children exposed to cigarettes. One death occurred in association with a nicotine liquid exposure.
The frequency of exposures to e-cigarettes and nicotine liquid among young children is increasing rapidly and severe outcomes are being reported. Swift government action is needed to regulate these products to help prevent child poisoning. Prevention strategies include public education; appropriate product storage and use away from children; warning labels; and modifications of e-cigarette devices, e-liquid, and e-liquid containers and packaging to make them less appealing and less accessible to children.