E-cigarette poison control calls for children are on the rise

25 June 2023

By Britney Heimuli, DeseretNews
“Nicotine addiction shouldn’t taste like candy,” one expert said. More kids younger than 5 are inhaling or ingesting e-cigarette vapor or liquid, based on reports

The number of poison control cases related to e-cigarettes increased about 32% from April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023, with the majority of the cases among children 5 or younger, according to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of the 7,043 e-cigarette exposure cases recorded, about 88% were among children less than 5-years-old who had either inhaled vapor or ingested liquid from e-cigarettes, the report stated.

E-cigarette sales increased 46.6% between January 2020 and December 2022, with children and young adults found as the primary users.

Fatma Romeh Ali, a Health Economist at the CDC Foundation and lead author of the study, said in a statement that, “The surge in total e-cigarette sales during 2020-2022 was driven by non-tobacco flavored e-cigarette sales, such as menthol, which dominates the prefilled cartridge market, and fruit and candy flavors, which lead the disposable e-cigarette market.”

On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a statement that said the organization issued over 180 letters to e-cigarette retailers selling unauthorized tobacco products.

Cases among children

In the statement, FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf said, “The FDA is prepared to use all of its authorities to ensure these, and other illegal and youth-appealing products, stay out of the hands of kids.”

CBS News said, “Around 1 in 10 cases had to be treated by a doctor, in the data through 2023, though less than 1% needed to be hospitalized.”

E-cigarette sales

“Vuse, JUUL, and NJOY remained among the top five selling e-cigarette brands nationwide through 2022, according to the new CDC report, compared to in 2020,” with the vape brands Elf Bar and Breeze Smoke recently reaching the top five, per CBS News.

From “2020 to 2022, sales of ‘other-flavor’ e-cigarettes—including fruit, sweet, and chocolate flavors-–increased by 29.2% to 41.3%,” according to CNN.

Robin Koval, CEO and president of the tobacco control organization Truth Initiative, told CNN, “Nicotine addiction shouldn’t taste like candy.”

Koval added, “These data speak volumes to the urgency of closing the gaping flavored tobacco product loophole to protect our nation’s youth– no matter the e-cigarette form – pods, refillable, and now especially disposables,” per CNN.

The FDA analyzed data from the National Poison Data System (NPDS) to “understand the number and characteristics of e-cigarette exposure cases in the United States.”

It is likely there are more cases since the NPDS gathers voluntary data to report poison exposure cases, the report said.


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