The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported earlier this week that e-cigarette liquid is linked to an increase in phone calls to U.S. poison control centers. Reason's Jacob Sullum reported on the findings:
The total number of calls to poison control centers related to e-cigarettes during the 42-month period covered by the CDC study was 2,405, or 57 per month. These cases were not necessarily serious enough to require medical attention. The study says "the most common adverse health effects in e-cigarette exposure calls were vomiting, nausea, and eye irritation." According to the Times, about a quarter of such calls lead to hospital visits.
Poisoning reports involving e-cigarette fluid are still a tiny fraction of poisoning reports involving products the CDC is not warning us about, such as analgesics, cosmetics, cleaning fluids, anthistamines, pesticides, vitamins, and plants, all of which generate thousands of calls to poison control centers each month. In all these cases, the solution to preventing the poisoning of little children is the same: keep little children away from poison.
When it comes to adults, caution in handling e-cigarette fluid, which can be absorbed through the skin or eyes, seems appropriate, although not always. According to the Times, the only fatality caused by e-cigarette fluid so far was a suicide by a man who injected it.
Last year, Reason TV interviewed NJOY CEO Craig Weiss to gain insight into the e-cigarette industry. Original airdate was October 29, 2013, and the original writeup is below.
"Our product is as much a cigarette as a car is an electric horse," says Craig Weiss, CEO of e-cigarette maker NJOY. "But it's got the word 'cigarette' in it and it's very hard to un-ring that bell."
NJOY is a leading manufacturer of electronic cigarettes, and is on the front lines of the regulatory fight over the new technology. (Full disclosure: NJOY is also a donor to Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes Reason TV.) Weiss recently sat down with Tracy Oppenheimer to discuss the burgeoning "vaping" industry, what's fueling the explosion of e-cigarette use, and calls to regulate the product like traditional tobacco cigarettes.
"Our policymakers in government should be making all of their decisions based on science and data, not on conjecture, not on 'Well, if it looks like a cigarette it must be a cigarette,'" argues Weiss. "That's not data. That's not science, and that's not how we should be making decisions."
Produced by Tracy Oppenheimer. Camera by Zach Weissmueller.
Music by I, Cactus, "Chartreuse Cactus"
About 7 minutes.
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