Warning for e-cigarette users - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Warning for e-cigarette users

The liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes is hazardous to children. (Source: KFOR/CNN) The liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes is hazardous to children. (Source: KFOR/CNN)

The FDA hasn't weighed in on the health effects of e-cigarettes, but South Carolina's poison control center is noticing a disturbing trend with the product. It's already sent some to the hospital.

For 40 years Terry Cryer had the same routine.

"I'd smoke one at 10:00 a.m., a couple at my lunch hour and then one at 3:00 p.m.," she said. "And then when I got home was when I was just, 'Nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh to make up for not being able to smoke at the job."

Cryer has since switched to electronic cigarettes, like an estimated one million Americans.

"I feel so much better and I know there are things out there that are worse," she said.

But e-cigarettes are also attracting the attention of children and the results can be deadly.

"A lot of these products, they make them flavored so it's going to be chocolate, bubble gum, blueberry," said Jill Michels, Director of Palmetto Poison Center. "It looks like juice, it smells like juice and a child could become confused and not realize it's not something they could drink."

Add it to the growing list of possible dangers associated with the device. Recently poison control centers around the country have seen a spike in calls related to nicotine poisoning.

"Nicotine can be very toxic, especially for a small child," said Michels. "A little bit of nicotine can cause some vomiting and diarrhea, some upset stomach symptoms. It can lead to increase in heart rate. And worst case is seizures."

Even without children in her home, Cryer keeps a close eye on her e-cigarette when it comes to her pets.

"They can't jump that far," she said. "I make sure they can't jump that far. The parents need to put the cute little bottles up on a shelf, on their dresser, up on a kitchen cabinet that a child cannot reach."

While Cryer said the device works with her lifestyle, she said like with anything new, people need to educate themselves about the risks.

Nicotine can be absorbed into the skin and experts say you can start to feel sick within minutes of exposure.

If you or someone you know is exposed to liquid nicotine, you are advised to contact the Palmetto Poison Center immediately at 1-800-222-1222.

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