Liquid Nicotine for E-Cigarettes Called a Dangerous, Unregulated Toxin — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
March 25, 2014

Liquid Nicotine for E-Cigarettes Called a Dangerous, Unregulated Toxin

By Joe Elia

Liquid nicotine is "hitting markets nationwide, for sale by the vial, the gallon and even the barrel," according to a New York Times story.

The fuel of e-cigarettes, liquid nicotine enables the satisfaction of cravings without smoke; however, nicotine is a neurotoxin. Even a highly diluted teaspoonful of the stuff can kill a small child. One toxicologist quoted in the article says that it's only a matter of time before a child is seriously poisoned or killed. Calls to poison control centers for liquid nicotine tripled between 2012 and 2013 and are projected to double this year.

Most nicotine refills for e-cigarettes are diluted to about 2% strength, but online vendors offer it at 10% strength — a tablespoon of which "could kill an adult," according to the toxicologist.

The FDA has said it plans to regulate e-cigarettes, but it hasn't said how.

Reader Comments (6)

John Wayne Cooper MD Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, office


J Ross Hester,PA-CH Other Healthcare Professional, Psychiatry, Edcom Associates Holistic Health

I agree with Dr. Hansen, but find many smoking cessation clients are self-medicating undiagnosed ADD with nicotine's stimulant effects, yet resist my referrals back to primaries or psychiatrists who can more appropriately treat them. Thus, properly dose nicotine or caffeine may be useful components in a program weaning them from combustible tobacco. Many other meds, like digoxin, are toxic above therapeutic doses. More research is urgently needed to better understand nicotine and its many effects.

John Wayne Cooper MD Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, on the road



Can you explain to me how liquid nicotine can be worst than inhaling nicotine? I know people who are vaping instead of smoking, consuming the same amount of nicotine than with cigarettes, but have improved pulmonary function tests.
I dont believe vaping for children is very accessible, a vap device costs 10 times a pack of cigarettes.
Deffinitively i am for legalising e cigarettes. And for those who think his comparable to that of the nicotine , of course not. There is the oral pleasure and inhalation similar to real cigarette. But most of all think about e cig for people who DO NOT want to quit smoking but dont want lung disbility and cancer.

Dr. V Kantariya MD Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice

Nicotine Patches Failed to Help Pregnant Smokers Quit ( BMJ.March 11,2014).Are E-cigatettes safer than tobacco? Can they to help pregnant smokers quit? We are waiting what the FDA will say, but we don`t have the proof yet.

Stephen Hansen,MD Physician, Internal Medicine

TWO MILLION kids tried "Vaping" last year. Big Tobacco's bought up the e-cig companies, and their marketing plan is working-- making new addicts for potentially ALL of their 3500 products. Some countries have banned this stuff--we should,too. And FDA should overcome its 5-year fecklessness in any new consumer tobacco protections and proceed with nicotine percentage reduction in cigarets to lessen addictiveness!!

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