Baby Boy Dies in a Tragic Accident Involving Liquid Nicotine, Parker Waichman LLP Comments

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The tragic report appears to be the first involving the death of a child associated with the product that is generally used with electronic cigarettes.

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Given liquid nicotine’s toxicity, potentially deadly consequences in children, and increased use, it is no surprise that the product is associated with increased reports to poison centers and increased injuries.

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm which has long been involved in a number of key cases involving issues related to traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and related products, such as chewing tobacco and liquid nicotine, comments on reports of the first child dying from liquid nicotine. According to a December 12, 2014 report by ABC News, the one-year-old boy lived in Fort Plain, a town in upstate New York State, when he was found unresponsive, rushed to the hospital, and was ultimately pronounced dead. It seemed the boy ingested liquid nicotine at his home. Fort Plain police did not confirm if the liquid nicotine was tied to an e-cigarette, but did describe the toddler’s death as a “tragic accident.”

Parker Waichman LLP comments that e-cigarettes have been associated with a rising number of injuries, including burns, nicotine toxicity, and heart and respiratory issues. The rise of e-cigarettes and so-called “vaping” in recent years has also meant a rise in the purchase of liquid nicotine, which is brightly colored and produced in flavors including, cotton candy or gummy bear, which could tempt young children.

“The fruit and candy flavors with which liquid nicotine is made offer great appeal to children and are very dangerous because of that appeal. Increased regulation is imperative to ensure that children are not placed in jeopardy because of the unregulated packaging of liquid nicotine products,” Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman LLP, pointed out.

Based on mounting complaints, Parker Waichman LLP is concerned that e-cigarette makers are touting the devices to younger people. As an advocate against nicotine use, the Firm maintains that, regardless of the method, e-cigarettes are still nicotine delivery systems. “It is not known whether e-cigarettes may lead young people to try other tobacco products, including conventional cigarettes, which are known to cause disease and lead to premature death,” the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicated in an August 2014 report.

According to a December 14, 2014 report by the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), the AAPCC indicated that it supports federal legislation that would require the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to mandate childproof packaging for liquid nicotine following the recent death. The proposed bipartisan, bicameral legislation is entitled the “Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2014,” and would enable and direct the Commission to mandate childproof packaging for liquid nicotine sold at the consumer level. Also according to the AAPCC, “One teaspoon of liquid nicotine could be lethal to a child, and smaller amounts can cause severe illness, often requiring trips to the emergency department.” The Centers noted that no standards exist today to mandate childproof packaging.

“Given liquid nicotine’s toxicity, potentially deadly consequences in children, and increased use, it is no surprise that the product is associated with increased reports to poison centers and increased injuries,” said Mr. Falkowitz.

“Since early 2013, we have seen an increase in liquid nicotine and e-cigarette exposure calls to poison centers that show no signs of plateauing in the immediate future. The Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act is a common sense means towards preventing a second unnecessary and avoidable death,” said AAPCC President Jay L. Schauben, PharmD, DABAT, FAACT. Poison centers nationwide received 460 calls in 2013 associated with liquid nicotine and e-cigarettes. The following year saw a trebling of that number to 1,543 with a little more than half of the reports involving children under six years of age. As of November 30, the figure for 2014 has doubled from 2013 to 3,638 exposure calls.

“The use of e-cigarettes is continuing to increase and, with advertising touting the devices as safe, and as a safe alternative to traditional smoking, these devices are also often used in public areas, exposing non-smokers to what may be dangerous vapors,” said Mr. Falkowitz. “In addition to the dangers being seen with children exposed to these products, more and more research is pointing to the hazards associated with those who use e-cigarettes, as well as those who are exposed to e-cigarettes,” he added. “Parker Waichman LLP continues to offer free lawsuit consultations to victims of e-cigarette injuries.”

If you or a loved one experienced complications, injuries, or death following use of, or exposure to, liquid nicotine or e-cigarette vapors or other ingredients, please visit the firm's e-cigarette page. Free case evaluations are also available by calling 1-800-LAW-INFO.

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