21 Arkansas children ingested liquid nicotine from E-Cigarettes

(KATV)-The Arkansas Poison Control Center reports 21 children under the age of five have ingested liquid nicotine used to refill E-Cigarettes. Ingesting the liquid can lead to nicotine poisoning.

The substance is often very colorful and comes in a variety of flavors. E-cigarettes have increased in popularity over the last couple of years because the smoker receives nicotine from vapor instead of smoke inhalation.

"Nicotine is a drug. It's a very potent drug and in these refills where there's a lot of nicotine in that refill relative to what's in a single cigarette, I mean it's a major problem if a kid gets into it," said Howell Foster, director of the Arkansas Poison Control Center.

There are currently no FDA regulations on child-proof caps for the liquid nicotine bottles. Sen. Mark Pryor hopes to change that.

"I am particularly concerned about the risks to children because liquid nicotine is sold in bottles without child-proof lids, and contains colors and flavors such as cherry, chocolate, and bubble gum," Sen. Pryor wrote in a letter to the FDA.

Howell says there has been one very serious case of a child ingesting the liquid.

"The child accessed the product from a night stand, did it hours before. He had multiple episodes of vomiting, began to have a decreased level of mentation. They brought him in and he ended up spending the night in the intensive care unit," Howell said.

The poison control center suggests parents keep the E-cigarette refills out of reach of small children. Parents should treat the refills like they would any other medicine.

"I would think most smokers leave their cigarettes out. It's obvious in most situations this has been a past smoker. They're going to leave this product out because they don't really think much of it," Howell said.