Pediatric Exposures to Electronic Cigarettes Reported to Texas Poison Centers

J Emerg Med. 2015 Aug;49(2):136-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2014.12.073. Epub 2015 Mar 21.


Background: Electronic cigarette use is increasing. There are concerns that pediatric exposures to these products may result in serious adverse affects.

Objectives: This study describes pediatric exposures to electronic cigarettes.

Methods: Cases were electronic cigarette exposures among patients age 5 years or less reported to Texas poison centers during January 2010-June 2014. The distribution by selected variables was determined.

Results: Of 203 exposures, two cases were reported in 2010, five in 2011, 20 in 2012, 70 in 2013, and 106 in January-June 2014. Fifty-one percent of the patients were male; 32% of the patients were aged 1 year, and 42% were 2 years of age. Ninety-six percent of the exposures occurred at the patient's own residence. The exposure routes were ingestion (93%), dermal (11%), ocular (3%), and inhalation (2%). Fifty-eight percent of the patients were managed on site. Of the patients seen at a health care facility, 69% were treated or evaluated and released. Eleven percent of the exposures were serious. The most commonly reported clinical effects were vomiting (24%), drowsiness/lethargy (2%), and cough/choke (2%). The most frequent treatments were dilution/irrigation/wash (65%) and food/snack (16%).

Conclusions: Electronic cigarette exposures involving young children reported to poison centers are increasing. Such exposures are likely to involve patients ages 2-3 years, occur at the child's own residence, and occur by ingestion. Further study is needed to determine which subgroups are at risk for serious outcomes and warrant evaluation at a health care facility.

Keywords: electronic cigarette; nicotine; poison center.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nicotine / poisoning*
  • Poison Control Centers / statistics & numerical data*


  • Nicotine