More children are being exposed to e-cigarettes, especially children younger than 6 years, according to the Illinois Poison Center. In 2015, the Center received 131 calls related to e-cigarettes – including 87 calls for children under age 6. In the first quarter of 2016, the Center received 25 such calls, including 16 for children under age 6. “In the past, the Illinois Poison Center got calls about young children eating traditional cigarettes or butts, but never actually smoking them or taking a ‘drag’,” says Carol DesLauriers, PharmD, DABAT, Director, Illinois Poison Center. “What’s most concerning is that we are getting calls about toddlers and young children taking ‘puffs’ from e-cigarettes, which is a learned behavior from watching their parents. Also, e-cigarettes may be appealing to children as they often have fruity or other pleasant flavorings or scents.” The Illinois Poison Center urges parents to take steps to keep children safe and minimize the risk of exposure to e-cigarettes:
- Store and secure e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine refill products in locations not accessible to children (e.g., locked places, such as cabinets or boxes);
- Do not use e-cigarettes around children, who often mimic and imitate adults; and
- Parents with young children are encouraged not to use or store e-cigarettes or liquid nicotine products in the home.
If you suspect that your child has been exposed to e-cigarettes, liquid nicotine, or other potentially harmful substance, please call the Illinois Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. For more information, visit the Illinois Poison Center’s website, http://illinoispoisoncenter.org.