Baby dies after being poisoned by nicotine vaping liquid as experts question dangers of e-cigarettes

6 February 2019
Adam McCleery 
Daily Mail Australia:

A baby has died after allegedly being exposed to toxic levels of liquid nicotine from an e-cigarette the Victorian Coroner has found. 

The Victorian Coroner’s office is investigating the death of the infant after it was alleged the child had been exposed to lethal levels of liquid nicotine used in an e-cigarette. 

Liquid nicotine is outlawed in Australia but can still be purchased from international retailers and mailed into the country undetected. 

As a result of the infant’s death, leading anti-tobacco and nicotine experts have questioned the safety of electronic cigarettes. 

The Herald Sun reported that the coroner refused to release details around the incident but did confirm the death was a direct result of exposure to liquid nicotine. 

Just one millilitre of liquid nicotine concentrate is enough to be fatal to a child if ingested, inhaled or splashed in their eyes the coroner reported. 

Quit Victoria has demanded the Federal Government get serious of cracking down on liquid nicotine in Australia.

‘The big concern with the poisonings is the significant increase over the last two or three years — it is a real problem,’ Quit Victoria director Dr Sarah White said.

‘Leaving aside any argument or discussion about smoking cessation or harm reduction, what we really need to happen is some basic consumer safety standards around these liquids.’ 

Dr White said child proof and bland packaging would go a long way to helping prevent further tragedies. 

Figures from the Poisons Information Centres found that there were 70 poisonings from e-cigarettes in 2016 which was more than double from the previous year. 

Research also found that of the 202 e-cigarette poisoning cases recorded in Australia 76 were children, including 62 infants. 

The Australian Government’s Department of Health stated that the World Health Organisation was yet to find conclusive evidence supporting the safety of liquid nicotine. 

‘The rising popularity of e-cigarette use internationally has also corresponded with an increasing number of reported nicotine poisonings due to exposure to or ingestion of e-liquids,’ a statement from National Health and Medical Research Council CEO Anne Kelso read. 

‘The effects of exposure range from relatively mild, including irritation of the eyes and skin, nausea and vomiting to severe life-threatening illness and in some cases, death.’