As America’s vape-illness crisis rages on, concerns have grown rapidly about the nicotine and cannabis consumption method. But what happens when you skip over the vapor part altogether and just straight-up eat a vape pod?
According to a new report from the University of Kansas Health System, cases of nicotine e-juice ingestion are on the rise, leading authorities to warn parents about keeping their vape products out of the reach of small children.
”Parents are calling saying, ‘Hey, I found my kid holding the vaping product,' or 'I found the kid with the e-cigarette pod in their mouth.' So we’re actually having a bit of an uptick in that, along with having reports of these vaping associated pulmonary illnesses,” Dr. Elizabeth Silver, a clinical toxicologist with the University of Kansas Health System Poison Control Center, told KMBC News. “We’ve had kids ingest that and they get pretty bad toxicity from the nicotine because it’s very, very concentrated in those little pods.”
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Now, to be clear, we are not talking about teens eating Juul pods for Instagram Live like a redux of the Tide Pod Challenge. Rather, toddlers and other young children are accidentally using the plastic nicotine pods as teething rings. But outside of intent, Rolling Stone took a look at the national poison control statistics and found that 2019 has already seen nearly 300 more calls about children under 12 eating vape products.
Compared to the effects of the vape-related illness that has already killed more than 10 people and hospitalized more than a thousand in just a few short months though, the self-reported increase in vape ingestion has not led to a rash of sickness among toddlers. If anything, this situation is more about parenting than it is a widespread health crisis.
“We’re seeing more of these products and hearing more about the safety risks, so people are calling in with concerns,” Brian Jenssen, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and assistant professor at the Pearlman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, told Rolling Stone.
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