Lately it seems like the news has been inundated with stories about nicotine poisonings caused by e-juice; and of course they’re always followed by warnings about the “dangers” of e-cigs. Stories about children (and pets) somehow getting ahold of their parents / owners e-juice and drinking it isn’t the kind of press any of us want or need! We already have enough hurdles to jump without an easily avoidable problem of e-juice poisoning. It may seem like commonsense, but apparently not everyone knows that e-liquid / nicotine can be dangerous. And even when people are aware of the dangers, they seem to overlook the potential risks to the people (and animals) around them.
In case you didn’t know, nicotine is a natural-occurring pesticide and is considered POISONOUS at high concentrations. Although the concentrations in a standard bottle of e-juice are relatively low, that doesn’t mean it won’t make a person (especially a child or pet) sick. Luckily, nothing too terrible will happen to an adult who consumes a little bit of e-liquid, but that same small quantity can be dangerous for pets and small children.
The Hazards of E-Liquid
E-liquid consists of several core ingredients – propylene glycol (PG) and/or vegetable glycerin (VG), nicotine and added flavorings. Most of these ingredients are widely considered safe for human consumption, but nicotine can be harmful to when ingested in high concentrations. The amount of nicotine you can consume by vaping is very unlikely to cause an issue, but if e-liquid is swallowed, or even exposed to your skin, it can lead to severe reactions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that as little as 60 milligrams of nicotine is enough to kill a 150-pound adult, but in several case studies, including one attempted suicide where a person ingested 1,500 milligrams of liquid nicotine, it didn’t lead to death, causing symptoms no worse than “abdominal pain and vomiting.”
The actual amount of nicotine that it would take to kill an adult is unknown, but you can be sure that the amount is much lower for pets and small children. In either situation, a standard bottle of e-liquid is very unlikely to contain enough nicotine to be lethal, but that doesn’t mean that the side effects will be pleasant or enjoyable. Common reactions to direct e-liquid exposure include: excessive salivation, increased heart rate, abdominal pain, sweating, headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
Your Responsibility As An Adult
Although most e-liquid is sold in tamper-resistant childproof bottles, no security measure is 100% full proof, especially if you don’t use a little common sense. Even when a product is considered “childproof,” it doesn’t give you the right to completely forego your responsibilities to keep your children (and animals) safe.
First and foremost, ALWAYS be sure to fully secure the cap! Childproof bottles don’t mean a thing if you forget to twist the top in-place when you’re finished. But even when the cap is fully secure, children have a knack for getting into things that they shouldn’t and your e-juice should never be within their reach. Store e-juice bottles in a safe location, preferably 4 feet or higher and out of the reach of toddlers and household pets. Think a medicine or storage cabinet that’s in a closet or bedroom. A lockable container will provide an increased layer of security, if you’d like to go an extra step.
Once you have a secure location, don’t ever forget to put your e-juice away! Even if you’re the only one home and you’re sure no one else is around, one false misstep or lapse in memory, and you could end up with a sick loved one.