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By Miriam Raftery

Calls to poison control centers due to electronic cigarettes have risen sharply, the Centers for Disease Control reports. First marketed in the U.S. in 2007, e-cigarettes now account for nearly 42% of all cigarette-related calls to poison control centers.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine and flavorings via an inhaled aerosol, a practice also known as “vaping.”  Thus far, these are not regulated by the Food & Drug Administration and in many states, there are no restrictions on sales of e-cigarettes to minors—though they can cause acute nicotine toxicity.

The CDC study tracked calls from September 2010, when poison control centers added new codes for e-cigarette calls, through February 2014.

E-cigarette calls soared from just one in September 2010 to 215 in February 2014. In addition, more of the e-cigarette poisoning calls were coming from health  care facilities.  Alarminingly, over half of e-cigarette poisonings or exposures reported were in children 5 years old or younger, and 42% of cases were among young people under age 20. 

The poisonings including inhalations, eye exposures,  skin exposures, and ingestions.  The impacts were also more severe from e-cigarettes than cigarettes – with nearly 58% of the callers reporting adverse health effects after exposure, compared to 36% for regular cigarette exposures. 

The most common adverse health effects from e-cigarette exposure were vomiting, nausea and eye irritation. One death was reported – a suicide from an individual who injected nicotine liquid intravaneously.

The CDC indicates this analysis might have underestimated the total number of e-cigarette exposures, since some poison control operators may not have known about the new codes initially. Also calls may be increasing as awareness of e-cigarette hazards among the public and medical professional increases.   

As little as a teaspoon  of liquid nicotine could make a child violently ill.  Even spilling liquid nicotine on a child’s skin could result in nicotine toxicity, Richard Clark, medical director at the California Poison Control Centers in San Diego has warned. Yet liquid nicotine is not sold with child-proof caps.

The CDC wants the public to know that e-cigarettes can cause acute adverse health effects and represent an emerging public health concern.

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Nicotine is an Insecticide !

From Colorado State: Nicotine is extracted from tobacco or related Nicotiana species and is one of the oldest botanical insecticides in use today. It's also one of the most toxic to warm-blooded animals and it's readily absorbed through the skin. (Wear gloves when applying it, follow label directions and keep pets away from application areas.) It breaks down quickly, however, so it is legally acceptable to use on organically grown crops. Nicotine sulfate is sold as a 40 percent nicotine sulfate concentrate under trade names that include Black Leaf 40 or Tender Leaf Plant Insect spray. Nicotine kills insects by interfering with the transmitter substance between nerves and muscles. It's commonly used to control aphids, thrips, spider mites and other sucking insecticides on most vegetables, some fruits, flowering plants and ornamental shrubs and trees. Roses are sensitive to nicotine. Choose alternate pest control measures when treating insects on roses. Smoke, smoke, smoke (that E cigarette).