Liquid nicotine packets: US warns of resemblance to juice boxes, candy

PHOENIX - A health alert has been issued from the FDA, and side-by-side comparisons are alarming: liquid nicotine packaged to look like kid-friendly juices, candies, or cookies.

It's easy to see how a child could be confused, and thousands of kids have consumed the toxic liquid.  Now, Valley doctors are worried because it's happening in our state.

Colorful packaging with words like "starburst" and "cake" that looks like a sweet treat. But, this is liquid nicotine intended for e-cigarettes and vaping devices.  And, therein lies the problem when you're just 5 years old.

We showed little Victoria two pieces of candy and a box of liquid nicotine. She couldn't tell the difference, and thought each item was candy.

That's the reason why the FDA and FTC issued 13 warning letters to manufacturers, distributors, and retailers who sell tobacco products wrapped in cartoon-like imagery.

Dr. Frank Lovecchio with Banner Health says when a child accidentally consumes the toxic liquid, it can cause seizures, comas, fatal heart problems, and even death.

"Most of those reservoirs carry about two packs of cigarettes. If it only takes one to two cigarettes to kill a child, you have quite a few who could die just from that little bit of liquid," he says.

In fact, the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center has been getting a lot of calls from Valley parents. But, it's not just happening in Arizona. 

In a five-year period, Poison Control received 8,269 reports of kids under the age of 6 who consumed liquid nicotine.

Lovecchio warns, "If you do use e-cigarettes, please treat it as a drug. Put it away from children, put it high above any place they could reach."

According to the CDC, more than 2 million middle and high school students admit to using e-cigarettes.  So, it's not just adults, but also teenagers who need to understand the importance of properly storing liquid nicotine so young children can't get a hold of it.

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