During 1995, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) received 7917 reports of potentially toxic exposures to tobacco products among children aged < or = 6 years in the United States. Most cases of nicotine poisoning among children result from their ingestion of cigarettes or cigars. Acute nicotine poisoning is characterized by rapid onset of symptoms that may be severe when large amounts have been ingested. During January 1994-July 1996, the Rhode Island Poison Control Center (RIPCC) received 146 reports of ingestion of products containing nicotine by children aged < or = 6 years. To characterize risk factors for and outcomes associated with ingestion of cigarettes and cigarette butts among children aged < or = 6 years, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDH) analyzed data from the RIPCC and the 1996 Rhode Island Health Interview Survey (RIHIS). This report summarizes the findings of the study, which indicate that ingestion of cigarettes and cigarette butts by children aged < or = 6 years resulted in minor toxic effects and occurred more frequently in households where smoking was permitted in the presence of children and where cigarettes and cigarette wastes were accessible to children.