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E-cigarette poisoning among children is on the rise

By Crystal Price
EL PASO, Texas - Electronic cigarettes are becoming more and more popular as a smoking alternative in Texas and throughout the rest of the country.

But with the rise in vaping" comes a rise in potential dangers that could pose a health risk to your children.

The Texas Poison Center has received a rising number of calls related to electronic cigarette poisoning within the last year.

Within the last year, 52 percent of the center's calls involving cigarette poisoning were children under the age of five.

The amount of e-cigarette poisoning cases nearly tripled in Texas within the last year.

According to the West Texas Regional Poison Center's data, there were 123 e-cigarette poisoning cases in 2013 in comparison to the 43 cases reported in 2012.

Fourteen electronic cigarette poisoning cases happened right here in El Paso.

According to the West Texas Poison Center, children are opening the e-cigarettes on their own and drinking the nicotine liquid that is inside.

"It comes in so many flavors, like bubble gum and strawberry," said Sergio Montoya, a Central El Paso resident who smokes the e-cigarettes. "Kids might think it tastes good like candy."

Health officials warn than the liquid contains nicotine and that ingesting the liquid can be detrimental and even deadly if too much is consumed.

"In large enough doses we can even see seizures with it, so it can be dangerous definitely," said Dr. Salvador Baeza, director at the West Texas Regional Poison Center.

Amanda Maldonado's granddaughter is almost 2 years old.

"Children are sponges, the world is their classroom, they're curious," Maldonado said. "These are very easy to open for a children and the juice can just spill right out."

Maldonado said she puts all of her e-cigarettes in a locked up place out of her granddaughter's reach.

"Just like I wouldn't leave a burning cigarette where a child could potentially touch it and burn themselves, I wouldn't leave this in a place where a child could access it," Maldonado said.

If you need to report an incident involving e-cigarette poisoning, call the West Texas Regional Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. The poison center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in both English and Spanish.



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