DENVER (CBS4) – While federal health officials work to set standards in place for regulating electronic cigarettes on the national level, local officials are warning people of their dangers, particulary for minors.
“Especially in children a very small amount can be hazardous,” said Dr. Alvin Bronstein of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, referring to the vaporized liquid that’s found in e-cigarettes.
“They could get nauseated. They could throw up. It could make their blood pressure go up. They could become agitated, then become sleepy. They could have seizures in the worst case. If enough was ingested, they could die.”
The FDA is considering age restrictions and marketing constraints for the products. Bronstein told CBS4 he wants the federal agency to ban the kid-friendly names being used for the cigarettes and their associated liquids that are sold and to mandate child resistant packaging.
The Poison & Drug Center, located in Denver, had eight calls about vape juice (or “e-juice”) exposures in 2012. Four were children under age 6. In 2013, the number jumped to 28. Sixteen were kids.
Monica Vondruska, an employee at “electronic cigarette vape shop” Cignot Colorado, said her products come with child resistant caps and warning labels.
Cignot sells the e-juice at strengths from no nicotene to about 2.5% nicotene. She said “it’s up to the consumer to keep it away from children.”
CBS4 found that other companies sell bottles that are easy to open and that have no warning labels.
“If we don’t do something is it a matter of time before we have a death from this nicotene fluid?” CBS4’s Kathy Walsh asked Bronstein.
“Yes,” he replied. “And then everybody will say ‘Oh we should have done something.’ ”