E-cig poisoning cases increase in Hawaii

E-cig poisoning cases increase in Hawaii

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There are growing concerns tonight over e-cigarettes. That's because calls into the poison control hotline have spiked from people, especially kids, ingesting the chemicals.

E-cigarette makers say their product is safer than tobacco, however the number of accidents with the e-cigarette refill is growing here in Hawaii and nationwide.

Cotton candy, apple candy, Skittles, e-cigarettes come in all sorts of tastes.

"The flavors are enticing to kids," said Rex Benigno, 808 Smokes Owner.

They smell sweet too, but kids may not realize it can make them sick or worse. Depending on the concentration and the size of the person it could only take about a tablespoon of the liquid to be fatal.

"That's the concern. That's the worry. So far we've been very lucky," said Dr. Al Bronstein, Hawaii Poison Hotline.

Dr. Al Bronstein with the Hawaii Poison Hotline says the numbers are dramatic. In 2011 and prior there weren't any e-cigarette poisoning cases in Hawaii. In 2012 there were 9 cases, 8 of which were kids under 6 years old. In 2013 there were 22 cases, 17 of which were kids. And there have been six already this year, four were kids.

"Just have proper respect for these solutions. They can come in small bottles, big bottles, we need to keep them away from children," said Dr. Bronstein.

It's not just drinking the "juice" but simply getting it on your skin can make people sick.

"It's my personal opinion they should be regulated. We need to know what's exactly in the solutions. The packaging needs to be appropriate. I think that would really benefit everyone," said Dr. Bronstein.

We checked in with e-cig makers in Hawaii. Some like 808-Smokes already use child resistant caps.

"For safety, we don't want to poison the kids with the nicotine," said Benigno.

He says parents need to be responsible as well.

"Keep it out of reach. Keep it in your cupboards. Don't just leave it laying around where kids can get access to it. That's kind of careless," said Benigno.

While flavors are attractive to kids they need to be kept out of their hands.

There was a case on the mainland of someone committing suicide by injecting himself with the e-cig juice. There haven't been any other deaths, although many have had to go to the emergency room.

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