North Carolina

E-cigs made dozens of kids sick this year in North Carolina, poison control warns

About 75 children under age 5 have been poisoned by e-cigarettes and related vaping products in North Carolina so far this year, the Poison Control said Monday.

Severe lung disease linked to vaping has been making headlines in recent weeks, but NC Poison Control said people can also get sick from the liquid directly.

Almost 150 people have gotten sick from exposure to the high levels of nicotine in e-cig products, NC Poison Control said. More than half of the people treated for poisoning related to vaping products were children under 5, the not-for-profit group said in a press release.

People can be exposed if they swallow the liquid from e-cigarettes or get it in their eyes or on the skin, the group said.

“The problem for children is that most e-liquid contains nicotine, and nicotine in very small amounts is dangerous, even life-threatening, for children,” NC Poison Control Medical Director Dr. Michael Beuhler said.

“Kids like to imitate their parents’ behavior, and the e-liquid is usually colorful and pleasant smelling,” he said in the release.

NC Poison Control said the amount of nicotine in e-cigarette products can vary greatly. Officials said parents who have e-cigs and vaping liquids in homes with children need to make sure to keep them in places where kids cannot see or reach.

Parents should also teach children that vaping and e-cig products are not for meant for kids, Poison Control said.

Almost 400 people have been hospitalized with severe lung disease linked to vaping, and six people have died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Two people in their 20s at one North Carolina hospital were on life support for lung disease thought to be linked to e-cig use, The News and Observer reported last week.

The two people were starting to recover at Wake Forest Baptist Health, according to the hospital.

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Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.