CDC Report on E-Cigarette Poisoning Increases Pressure for FDA’s Authority over the Products

Family & Parenting, Local News, National & World News, Health & Wellness

E-cigarettes are claimed to be a safer alternative to traditional cigarette smoking, but they pose a danger to children. Pressure is on for the FDA ...

Electronic cigarettes, a.k.a. e-cigarettes, are supposedly a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, but while trying to help smokers, it’s posing harmful to children. According to findings from a study completed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), e-cigarette poisoning cases have been on the rise.

The CDC’s report released today indicates that the number of phone calls to U.S. poison control centers each month for e-cigarette poisoning has gone from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014. Looking at conventional cigarettes, it did not show a similar rate of increase.

The dangers of e-cigarette poisoning involve the liquids containing nicotine that’s used in the device. The danger lies in ingestion, inhalation or absorption through the skin or eyes, leading to effects such as vomiting, nausea and eye irritation.

The study found 51.1 percent of the e-cigarette-related calls to poison centers involved children under the age of 5 and about 42 percent of the calls involved individuals age 20 or older.

“E-cigarette liquids as currently sold are a threat to small children because they are not required to be childproof, and they come in candy and fruit flavors that are appealing to children,” according to CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. in the agency’s press release.

The Director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H. added, “Health care providers, e-cigarette companies and distributors, and the general public need to be aware of this potential health risk from e-cigarettes.”

These new findings come on the heels of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) trying to push for a proposed rule that would give it authority and oversight over e-cigarette products.

At a Congressional budget hearing today, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg pushed for the rule over e-cigarettes to speed up and commented the proposal should be ready for release “very soon.” The proposal is currently under examination by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.

In 2009, a law passed giving the FDA the authority to regulate cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products. This also gives the FDA the power to call out other cigarette/tobacco-related products to be under its jurisdiction, but it must first issue a rule to that effect.

Concern over cigarette products and other such related products to one’s health continues to grow with more attention. Just last month, 28 U.S. attorneys generals banded together urging major pharmacy retailers to stop the sale of tobacco. This follows after CVS announced in February that it would end the sale of tobacco products at its stores by the end of the year.

[Source: CDC; Reuters.]

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