More Wash. children getting their hands on vaping devices



Posted on May 20, 2014 at 4:49 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 20 at 7:29 PM

We've heard about the growing concern over use of E-cigarettes among minors. But the Washington Poison Center has uncovered a trend that shows kids under the age of 6 are getting their hands on vaping devices.

Justin Wilcox is an avid vaper. Sitting outside his home, he puts a few drops of his favorite flavor of e-juice containing liquid nicotine into what he calls a mechanical mod - commonly known as an e-cigarette.

When he's done he packs it all away in a carrying case to keep it all safely away from his 4-year-old son.

He says it doesn’t bother him to have the e-cigarette paraphernalia around his son.

"Because for kids it's out of sight out of mind,” he said. “If I keep the case closed and locked up he's not going to touch it.”

But the Washington Poison Center has uncovered a disturbing trend. The number of reports of children with toxic exposure to e-juice is growing at an alarming rate.

"We're getting cases of small children, primarily under the age of 6,” said Jim Williams, Washington Poison Center Executive Director.

In 2010, Washington state had one report of an e-juice poisoning with kids under the age of 6. But the numbers steadily climbed each year to 51 in 2013. And already 39 cases so far in the first quarter of this year.

"They either got it on their skin and are ingesting it through their skin or they're actually are ingesting the product,” said Williams.

"What the studies have shown is that there is a wide variability of what's in the product versus what the product states is in it,” said Scott Neal/King co Public Health

The manager of the tobacco prevention program for King County Public Health explains the poisonings can happen at any age.

"They are constantly refilling the device daily, or every week. And liquid nicotine is highly toxic, whether you're ingesting it or whether it's dermally on your skin,” said Neal.

A typical poisoning reaction is nausea or vomiting. The poison center says there have been no reported deaths.

While some bottles pop open with a simple flip of the thumb, Wilcox shows us the ones he has in a case have a protective cap.

"All of them use child proof caps, which is important,” he said.

"There are juice makers who don't do that, and with their juice you have to be more responsible. You have to keep it out of reach of kids. It's like any other medicine really. You don't put your medicine where you kids can get it and you teach your kids not to play with that medicine,” said Wilcox.

Four-year-old Landon follows the rules. The Wilcoxes say they'll teach those same rules to their newborn twins as well.

Their father believes switching from the tar and carcinogens of cigarettes to vaping are healthier for him and his family around him.

"These kids are my life, and I would never bring anything around them that i thought was dangerous or potentially hazardous,” he said.

The Washington Poison Center says about 60 percent of the e-juice poisonings involve kids under the age of 6.