SAN ANTONIO, TX (WOAI) - E-cigarette devices are said to help you kick smoking for good, but the liquid nicotine can be dangerous, or even deadly for your child, and the number of children who are getting sick is increasing in Texas.
The South Texas Poison Center receives thousands of calls each year. However, now they're starting to hear about children getting into something new.
"The child got into the e-cigarette and kind of tore it apart, and got into the cartridge and bit into it," explained Doug Cobb, who has been answering calls there for the last 17 years.
Some stores like "Thanks for Vaping" only sell child-proof cartridges. They also warn every customer to keep their supplies locked up, away from children and pets.
"You wouldn't want to leave your cigarettes near your children. You wouldn't want to leave this near them either," explained store manager Crystal Anderson.
Mom Jeanette Rendon takes that advice seriously. "I explained the nicotine to them [her kids] that if they get it on their skin or anything like that, that it could be harmful still, so to stay away from it."
News 4 San Antonio obtained the number of e-cigarette exposures in children for the last several years. The Texas Poison Control Network received 43 calls in 2012 and that number nearly tripled to 123 calls in 2013. The network had already received 66 calls by the end of March 2014.
"Over half the cases are in children under five years old," explained Dr. Miguel Fernandez, the director of the South Texas Poison Center. He says most children are getting sick by drinking the liquid nicotine.
Exposure to this liquid can cause headaches or tremors and just a few drops on your skin can make you sick.
The number of calls may be growing because of the growing popularity of these products, Dr. Fernandez said The Texas Poison Control Network reports no child has died here, but you can call the network 24 hours a day for free.
The South Texas Poison Center number is 1-800- 222-1222.
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