Target: Dr. Margaret Hamburg, United States Food and Drug Administration Commissioner
Goal: Demand regulation for high risk stimulant used in e-cigarettes
The number of persons referred to hospitals for e-cigarette poisoning more than tripled in 2013, according to the National Poison Data System. One woman was hospitalized when her e-cigarette broke in her bed, and the liquid nicotine absorbed into her skin causing cardiac issues.
The e-cigarette has been touted for its ability to help people quit smoking. Providing a fix of nicotine while releasing vapor, using the device helps people avoid damaging their own lungs and filling the air with second-hand smoke. However, the liquid nicotine in the “e-liquds” used to fill the e-cigarettes is a potent toxin that is generating increasing alarm over its harmful public health effects. If ingested or absorbed through the skin, liquid nicotine can cause vomiting, seizures, and even death. Due to the widespread popularity of e-cigarettes, liquid nicotine is now one of the most potent, naturally occurring toxins available to us. In a particularly tragic case, one man committed suicide by injecting himself with liquid nicotine.
E-cigarettes are especially dangerous because their use poses a hazard to small children. The lack of any federal regulation on the item means that people can and often do keep supplies of nicotine-containing “e-liquids” around the house for refilling their e-cigarettes, where children can be attracted to the brightly colored bottles boasting fragrant flavors like chocolate or bubble gum.
Reports of accidental poisonings among children have shot up in recent years. Worse still, most of these cases are occurring among children two years and under. The risk becomes all the more serious considering it takes just a teaspoon of diluted liquid nicotine to kill a child and less than a tablespoon to kill an adult.
Please sign the petition below, and urge the FDA to protect the public from this serious health hazard.
Dear Dr. Hamburg,
I am writing in order to bring your attention to the hazardous liquid nicotine-containing “e-liquids” used to fill e-cigarettes. Currently unregulated by the FDA, these e-liquids pose a serious public health risk. The liquid nitrogen they contain is a potent toxin that if ingested or absorbed through the skin, causes vomiting, seizures, and even death.
The supplies of e-liquids people keep around the house can attract young children with their bright colors and fragrant flavors. The increasing popularity of e-cigarettes has made liquid nicotine one of the most potent, naturally-occurring toxins available to us today.
I urge you to take this issue into your immediate consideration, starting by disclosing to the public your plans for addressing the issue. Your leadership can play a key role in raising consumer awareness about the risks of e-cigarette use, ultimately helping to prevent the substance’s further harm to public health.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Chris F via flickr