Report: E-cigarette poisonings 10 times more common among kids and teens in 2013


More Minnesota children and teenagers were poisoned by e-cigarette liquid last year than in 2012.

The Department of Health reports there were five reports of e-cigarette related poisoning in 2012. Last year, that number jumped to 50.

E-cigarette poisonings accounted for 23 percent of the state’s 218 teen and child tobacco-related poisonings in 2013.

Poisonings include calls where e-cigarette liquids, also known as e-juice, have been swallowed, inhaled, come in contact with the eyes or absorbed through the skin.

Health officials say children may mistake the liquid vials with candy and drink it.

The liquid can contain levels of nicotine that are fatal for children. And some flavors - like cotton candy, bubble gum and grape - could appeal to kids.

The agency says the Poison Control System received several calls in 2013 involved toddlers and infants who had swallowed e-juice, while some involved teenagers who had been using e-cigarettes.

“Fortunately, none of the poisonings hospitalized or seriously injured children in 2013. But given the rise in poisonings, we really want parents to know that this liquid nicotine can pose a fatal risk and that they should store it out of the reach of children,” says Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger.

Currently, there is no state or federal law requiring manufacturers of e-juice to disclose ingredients or require child-resistant packaging.

“We think of concentrated nicotine as a very serious poison, equivalent to dangerous prescription drugs,” says Stacey Bangh, Clinical Supervisor at the Hennepin Regional Poison Center. “Given this rate of increase, it’s not a matter of if a child will be harmed by these products, but when.”

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would would include a ban on e-cigarettes in public places.

Minnpost reports 27 states, including Minnesota, ban e-cigarettes for minors, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Three states – North Dakota, Utah and New Jersey — ban smoking e-cigarettes indoors.

Check out these Department of Health poisoning stats:

Next Up

overturned semi truck

Winter storm creates whiteout conditions, closing roads and causing crashes

Roads in southwestern Minnesota were closed early Friday, while slippery conditions elsewhere in the state led to crashes and spinouts.


Hennepin Theatre Trust announces 2021-22 Broadway schedule

Health and safety protocols will be in place based on state guidance.

Tim Walz

Walz to hold press conference on MN State Capitol safety concerns

This comes amid ongoing threats to state Capitols across the country.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Brooklyn Park standoff: Suspect kills himself, child taken hostage is safe

The standoff ended Thursday night when the suspect shot himself.

police tape, crime scene

Man dies in alley after report of shooting in Minneapolis

Police were sent to the scene by ShotSpotter activation.


COVID-19 shines a light on the struggles facing Minnesota's working mothers

Daycare and school closures have put working families under pressure, with mothers bearing the brunt.

Prada Purse2

Border patrol in Minneapolis intercepts shipment of 173 counterfeit designer bags

If they were authentic, they would have been worth about $405,975.

Minneapolis City Hall

Minneapolis councilors propose replacing police department, rent stabilization

Council members are also proposing two charter amendments to help renters in Minneapolis.

Vaccine COVID

MDH expands COVID guidance, urges providers to vaccinate the 65+

More vaccine guidance will be provided in the coming days.