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Study: Kids' Exposure to Nicotine Skyrockets

Posted at 6:03 PM, May 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-10 21:13:15-04

According to a new study, the number of children exposed to high levels of nicotine has sky-rocketed. 

The survey, published in the journal Pediatrics, showed between 2012 and there was a 1500 percent increase in the number of e-cigarette nicotine exposure cases. In January 2012, there were only 14 exposures in kids under 6. However, in April 2015, that number jumped to 223.

"Even though the total numbers are small still, the increase is what's so concerning, especially when we consider how many people around the United States are using e-cigarettes," said. Dr. Hilary Tindle, Associate Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University.

The biggest concern, Tindle said, is in the packaging of nicotine refills. Those refills can sometimes contain 4 times the lethal dose for a child who ingests 1 ml, the study showed.

"They want to pick things up. They're attracted to flavors and pretty colors," Tindle said. 

Symptoms of nicotine exposure can include nausea, vomiting, increased heart-rate and blood pressure. One child died in the study. 

In Tennessee, a similar pattern emerged. Between 2013 and 2014, the number of nicotine exposure calls increased by 500 percent. 

"It's just a plea to every household out there that may be using e-cigarettes to please keep them away from children," added Tindle.

 Last week, the Food and Drug Administration announced it would start regulating e-cigarette use. That will now include requiring tamper-proof packaging, in hopes that better packaging will decrease the chances of nicotine exposure.

Experts recommend not leaving the nicotine refill open while using an e-cigarette and also storing the refills as you would any household product.