Do you vape? Protect children. Keep them away from e-liquids.
As e-cigarettes (also called âvapesâ) have become more popular, more children are being accidentally exposed to nicotine-containing e-liquidsâwhich can cause injury & even death. If youâre an adult who vapes, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration wants you to know that itâs important to keep these products away from kids, & to be prepared in case of emergencies.
Nicotine, even in small amounts, can be dangerous to children if they touch or drink it. In fact, from January 2012 to April 2017, the National Poison Data System received 8,269 calls related to liquid nicotine exposure in children younger than six, mostly from drinking these products. E-liquids also can harm pets.
So the U.S. Food & Drug Administration is warning adults about these risks & taking action to protect children.
Why E-Liquids Are Dangerous for Children
Containers for e-liquids (the liquid used in vape products) can seem tempting to children of all ages for many reasons. For example, some e-liquids may have labeling or advertising that misleads kids into thinking the products are things theyâd eat or drinkâlike a juice box, piece of candy, or cookie. But these products are not meant for children.
The FDA has evaluated data & science related to the risks of e-liquid exposure & found that young children can be severely hurt by drinking (also called âingestingâ) e-liquids. Harmful effects can include seizure, coma, respiratory arrest (which happens when a person stops breathing), and death from cardiac arrest (which happens when the heart stops pumping blood).
Follow Storage Tips for E-Liquidsâand Teach Children to Avoid These Products
Remember that children are curious and put all sorts of things in their mouths. Even if you turn away for a few seconds, they can quickly get into things that could harm them.
You can help prevent accidental exposure to e-liquids by always putting your e-cigarettes and/or e-liquids up & awayâand out of kidsâ and petsâ reach & sightâevery time you use them.
Also ask family members, house guests, & other visitors who vape to keep bags or coats that hold e-cigarettes or e-liquids up & away & out of reach & sight of children & pets.
For children old enough to understand, explain to them that these products can be dangerous and shouldnât be touched. & tell kids that you or another adult are the only people who should handle these products.
Know the Poison Control Wire Number
To be prepared in case of an emergency, also add the Poison Control HELP numberÂ (1-800-222-1222) to your phone contacts.
Make Sure to Properly Handle E-Liquids
When you remove products from their (adult-only) storage locations, itâs important to handle them in a way that may help to prevent kidsâ exposure to e-liquids.
- ALWAYS store e-liquids in their original containers, so others know exactly what they are. This will help children know to avoid these products.
- ALWAYS make sure product caps are locked when youâre not using them, & relock caps when youâre finished. If a bottle has a cap that turns, twist it until you cannot twist anymore.
- ALWAYS avoid contact with your skin and eyes when you use these products. E-liquid exposure can cause burning & irritation, among other problems. In case of accidental contact with skin or eyes, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.
- ALWAYS clean up any spills or splashes immediately using soap & water.
- NEVER drink e-liquid, or allow anyone to drink it, because the liquid nicotine can be poisonous. If a child accidentally drinks e-liquid, immediately call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222. Also call this number if you think your child has been exposed to these productsâeven if youâre not completely sure.
Report Safety Issues to the FDA
The FDA has regulatory authority over tobacco productsâincluding e-cigarettes & other vaping products, cigars, cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, hookah and pipe tobaccoâas part of its mission to improve public health.
Know that the FDA has sent warning letters to companies that mislead kids with e-liquids that imitate childrensâ food products (such as juice boxes, candy or cookies. These warning letters advised companies that these misleading products are prohibited.
The FDA also is pursuing other steps to protect youth from the dangers of tobacco products, such as continuing to enforce regulations addressing youth access & exploring measures to make tobacco products less toxic, appealing, & addictive.
If you experience any unexpected health problems with an e-liquid or any other tobacco product, please report the issue to the FDA using the Safety Reporting Portal.
This article appears on the FDAâs Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.
May 1, 2018