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Phoenix doctor: Liquid nicotine for e-cigarettes should be treated like medication

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

PHOENIX — Liquid nicotine for e-cigarettes should be handled like medication so it doesn’t fall into children’s hands, a Phoenix doctor said.

“This should be treated like a medication, where it should be kept away from children, preferably in a child-proof container,” Dr. Frank Lovecchio with the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center said.

Lovecchio said the right amount of liquid nicotine can prove fatal to a toddler, who are coming into contact with the substance on an exponential basis as e-cigarettes grow in popularity.

“In the first year vaping (smoking an e-cigarette) became popular, kids were getting into (liquid nicotine) about 12 cases per year,” he said. “The following year, that number jumped up to 50 kids under 3 years old.”

Lovecchio said just one toddler has died from getting into liquid nicotine.

“Which is somewhat of a surprise to us because we thought, with the concentration of nicotine in some of these products, we thought that it would cause more harm,” he said, adding that most were nauseated and vomiting, but recovered when given medication.

With more parents likely using e-cigarettes, Lovecchio said parents need to keep liquid nicotine locked up. Most of the flavors used in the devices have names that appeal to kids.

“If you look at the products, some of the names, some of the flavors, it’s all things that a kid would like,” he said. “Some of them sound like an ice cream shop – crème brulee, strawberry, chocolate.”

KTAR’s Brian Rackham contributed to this report.