Warning for parents: E-cigarette juice is danger for children

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Electronic cigarettes have gained popularity, but doctors are warning parents that the liquid used in the devises might present unintended dangers for children.

Mike Bond owns Smoke Out Solutions, a company he said is the only e-cigarette juice maker in Kern County. Bond said he makes his e-juices using four ingredients: propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, natural and artificial flavoring and nicotine.

In small vials, each juice has a different flavor, smell and name.

Users pour the flavored liquid into the e-cigarette. The battery inside the e-cigarette heats the liquid, creating a vapor that users inhale.

"It's something to make you healthy," Bond said. "We get you the nicotine level you need to get off cigarettes."

It is the liquid nicotine vials, like those Bond makes, that has created a controversy rising among e-cigarettes.

In a study released last month by the Centers for Disease Control, the number of calls to poison centers involving e-liquid nicotine poisoning rose from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month this February.

The assistant director of California's Poison Control Centers, Dr. Cyrus Rangan, said ingesting e-liquid juice could be fatal.

"First and foremost, consuming enough of it could cause death," said Rangan. "Poison control centers across the country have been reporting that young children have been getting into these, and, with just a few drops of exposure, a very young child could become very toxic and require hospitalization."

Children across the country have been rushed to emergency rooms after drinking the liquid, which smell sweet and have flavors like bubble gum and green apple.

"These tiny little vials, full of these liquids that have concentrated nicotine in it, these are the consequences that we might be dealing with," said Rangan.

In late April, the Food and Drug Administration took its first steps toward regulating e-cigarettes, from the labeling of the e-juice bottles to the scientific review of the ingredients used to vape.

San Joaquin Community Hospital emergency room Dr. Joshua Tobias said without FDA regulations there is no way to know exactly what ingredients are in e-juice vials.

"You want to keep the nicotine with your medications. You should keep your medications away from your children," he said. "Anything that we don't know the exact ingredients of, I wouldn't consider safe."

E-juice without nicotine is available.

With Bond's liquid nicotine, all four ingredients individually are FDA approved. Until the FDA approves the mix of four, he said he'll continue to follow their proposed rules.

"I blame the parents," Bond said of children drinking the e-juice. "Keep this out of the reach of children is what we have posted on bottles. You don't leave an empty, half-open bottle of liquor next to a 14 year old, do you?"