GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – Governor Rick Snyder has indicated he may not sign a bill into law that would regulate e-cigarette sales to minors, saying the legislation doesn’t go far enough, but now there are no regulations on the books.
A Centers for Disease Control report states that there has been a major increase in nicotine poisoning due to the liquids used in e-cigarettes.
According to the report, the number of poison calls due to e-cigarette liquid to poison control centers “rose from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014.”
The report states that more than half those poison control calls involved kids less than five years old.
Lisa Mellema is a manager at Grand Rapids’ Lite Up N Live, an electronic cigarette shop. She told 24 Hour News 8 she puffed her last real cigarette about a year and a half ago. She said she now swears by e-cigarettes.
“It’s just nice to be able to still enjoy [smoking] and know that I’m not getting all the other bad stuff that comes with it,” said Mellema.
But, the sometimes candy colored and fruit flavored liquid can be bad enough, if kids get their hands on it.
That CDC report states kids who ate cigarettes got nicotine poisoning from traditional cigarettes in the past, but with e-cigarette liquid, poisoning can happen from a child inhaling, eating or absorbing the liquid into the skin or eyes.
Mellema said she agrees the industry could use some regulation – like mandatory labels saying what exactly is in the e-cigarette liquid.
As far as kids getting their hands on the liquid, Mellema said that’s where parents need to be parents.
“You keep your medicines and medications – just like with the nicotine liquid you want to keep that up out of reach of children,” said Mellema. “You want to keep it in a safe spot. As a parent, we need to be responsible for their safety.”
Pulmonary critical care physician Dr. Glenn Van Otteren agrees that parents do need to monitor their kids around e-cigarette liquid.
“Because we don’t have those safety controls, parents need to be very, very careful to treat it as a medicine, a drug” said Van Otteren. “And keep it out of the hands of children.”
Van Otteren wants to see the regulation go a step further.
“The product is not regulated at all right now, so there’s no child safety controls whatsoever, so that’s something that should be corrected in my personal opinion,” said Van Otteren. “Like any new drug, like any new product, I think it needs to be studied a bit more right now. Just in the early evidence, there’s a reason to be concerned about it.”<
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