Exposure Calls to U. S. Poison Centers Involving Electronic Cigarettes and Conventional Cigarettes-September 2010-December 2014

J Med Toxicol. 2016 Dec;12(4):350-357. doi: 10.1007/s13181-016-0563-7. Epub 2016 Jun 28.


Introduction: E-cigarette use is increasing, and the long-term impact on public health is unclear. We described the acute adverse health effects from e-cigarette exposures reported to U.S. poison centers.

Methods: We compared monthly counts and demographic, exposure, and health effects data of calls about e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes made to poison centers from September 2010 through December 2014.

Results: Monthly e-cigarette calls increased from 1 in September 2010, peaked at 401 in April 2014, and declined to 295 in December 2014. Monthly conventional cigarette calls during the same period ranged from 302 to 514. E-cigarette calls were more likely than conventional cigarette calls to report adverse health effects, including vomiting, eye irritation, and nausea. Five e-cigarette calls reported major health effects, such as respiratory failure, and there were two deaths associated with e-cigarette calls.

Conclusion: E-cigarette calls to U.S. poison centers increased over the study period, and were more likely than conventional cigarettes to report adverse health effects. It is important for health care providers and the public to be aware of potential acute health effects from e-cigarettes. Developing strategies to monitor and prevent poisonings from these novel devices is critical.

Keywords: Electronic nicotine delivery systems; Health effects; Poison centers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems*
  • Female
  • Hotlines / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Nicotine / adverse effects
  • Poison Control Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Public Health
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Time Factors
  • Tobacco Products / adverse effects*
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Nicotine