a man smoking an e-cigarette, a potential source of liquid nicotine poisoning

Each year, America's Poison Centers answers thousands of calls about exposures to tobacco products like cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and chewing tobacco.

What does nicotine poisoning look like? Exposures to these and other products containing nicotine can cause nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. In serious cases, nicotine poisoning can lead to life-threatening and severe symptoms like seizures, decreased heart rate, and decreased blood pressure. These symptoms can happen to anyone of any age, but the risk is greatest in children due to their size.

While nicotine in any form can cause poisonings, since 2011 poison centers have been most concerned about exposures to e-cigarette products and liquid nicotine. This is because the concentration of nicotine in liquid products is higher than most other tobacco products.

One could be exposed to the liquid nicotine in an e-cigarette or e-liquid (vape juice, smoke juice) by drinking it, spilling it on the skin, or breathing in too much vapor.

To prevent exposure to e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine, the Association recommends the following:

  • Always store products up, away, and out of sight of kids. Because these products may smell or look like kid-friendly foods, kids may be tempted to touch or taste them.
  • Use caution when refilling or handling liquids. Wash your hands with soap and water, and clean up any spills immediately.
  • Talk to your teens about the health effects of using e-cigarettes or “vape” products.

If someone has been exposed to nicotine, especially a child, call Poison Help at 1-800-222-1222 right away.

More Resources

From the CDC
From the FDA
More in Trending Topics