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Thread: Selling a Poison by the Barrel: Liquid Nicotine for E-Cigarettes

  1. #1
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    Selling a Poison by the Barrel: Liquid Nicotine for E-Cigarettes

    A dangerous new form of a powerful stimulant is hitting markets nationwide, for sale by the vial, the gallon and even the barrel.

    The drug is nicotine, in its potent, liquid form — extracted from tobacco and tinctured with a cocktail of flavorings, colorings and assorted chemicals to feed the fast-growing electronic cigarette industry.

    These “e-liquids,” the key ingredients in e-cigarettes, are powerful neurotoxins. Tiny amounts, whether ingested or absorbed through the skin, can cause vomiting and seizures and even be lethal. A teaspoon of even highly diluted e-liquid can kill a small child.

    But, like e-cigarettes, e-liquids are not regulated by federal authorities. They are mixed on factory floors and in the back rooms of shops, and sold legally in stores and online in small bottles that are kept casually around the house for regular refilling of e-cigarettes.

    Evidence of the potential dangers is already emerging. Toxicologists warn that e-liquids pose a significant risk to public health, particularly to children, who may be drawn to their bright colors and fragrant flavorings like cherry, chocolate and bubble gum.

    Photo

    The liquid stimulant used in e-cigarettes, when ingested or absorbed through the skin, can cause vomiting, seizures or death. Credit Frank Franklin II/Associated Press
    “It’s not a matter of if a child will be seriously poisoned or killed,” said Lee Cantrell, director of the San Diego division of the California Poison Control System and a professor of pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco. “It’s a matter of when.”

    Reports of accidental poisonings, notably among children, are soaring. Since 2011, there appears to have been one death in the United States, a suicide by an adult who injected nicotine. But less serious cases have led to a surge in calls to poison control centers. Nationwide, the number of cases linked to e-liquids jumped to 1,351 in 2013, a 300 percent increase from 2012, and the number is on pace to double this year, according to information from the National Poison Data System. Of the cases in 2013, 365 were referred to hospitals, triple the previous year’s number.

    Examples come from across the country. Last month, a 2-year-old girl in Oklahoma City drank a small bottle of a parent’s nicotine liquid, started vomiting and was rushed to an emergency room.

    That case and age group is considered typical. Of the 74 e-cigarette and nicotine poisoning cases called into Minnesota poison control in 2013, 29 involved children age 2 and under. In Oklahoma, all but two of the 25 cases in the first two months of this year involved children age 4 and under.

    Continue reading the main story
    THE NEW SMOKE
    Articles in this series examine the multibillion-dollar market for e-cigarettes and the consequences for public health.
    PART 1
    A Hot Debate Over E-Cigarettes as a Path to Tobacco, or From ItFEB 23, 2014
    In terms of the immediate poison risk, e-liquids are far more dangerous than tobacco, because the liquid is absorbed more quickly, even in diluted concentrations.

    “This is one of the most potent naturally occurring toxins we have,” Mr. Cantrell said of nicotine. But e-liquids are now available almost everywhere. “It is sold all over the place. It is ubiquitous in society.”

    The surge in poisonings reflects not only the growth of e-cigarettes but also a shift in technology. Initially, many e-cigarettes were disposable devices that looked like conventional cigarettes. Increasingly, however, they are larger, reusable gadgets that can be refilled with liquid, generally a combination of nicotine, flavorings and solvents. In Kentucky, where about 40 percent of cases involved adults, one woman was admitted to the hospital with cardiac problems after her e-cigarette broke in her bed, spilling the e-liquid, which was then absorbed through her skin.

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    The problems with adults, like those with children, owe to carelessness and lack of understanding of the risks. In the cases of exposure in children, “a lot of parents didn’t realize it was toxic until the kid started vomiting,” said Ashley Webb, director of the Kentucky Regional Poison Control Center at Kosair Children’s Hospital.

    Photo

    Nicotine solutions at Volt Vapes in Boise, Idaho. The “e-liquid” comes in colors and flavors that experts say may entice children. Credit Katherine Jones/The Idaho Statesman, via Associated Press
    The increased use of liquid nicotine has, in effect, created a new kind of recreational drug category, and a controversial one. For advocates of e-cigarettes, liquid nicotine represents the fuel of a technology that might prompt people to quit smoking, and there is anecdotal evidence that is happening. But there are no long-term studies about whether e-cigarettes will be better than nicotine gum or patches at helping people quit. Nor are there studies about the long-term effects of inhaling vaporized nicotine.

    Unlike nicotine gums and patches, e-cigarettes and their ingredients are not regulated. The Food and Drug Administration has said it plans to regulate e-cigarettes but has not disclosed how it will approach the issue. Many e-cigarette companies hope there will be limited regulation.

    Continue reading the main story
    RECENT COMMENTS

    Randall Sewell 5 minutes ago
    Since 2011, there has been one death due to e-liquids, which was intentional. Since 2011, there have been over 100,000 deaths caused by...
    Dan Stackhouse 5 minutes ago
    Come to think of it, I'd really like to see follow-up articles in this same vein. It could be called the "Selling Poison by the Barrel"...
    Russell 6 minutes ago
    When I read this article I knew the e-cigarette crowd would come out in full force against this author and these studies. Now how did I know...
    SEE ALL COMMENTS WRITE A COMMENT
    “It’s the wild, wild west right now,” said Chip Paul, chief executive officer of Palm Beach Vapors, a company based in Tulsa, Okla., that operates 13 e-cigarette franchises nationwide and plans to open 50 more this year. “Everybody fears F.D.A. regulation, but honestly, we kind of welcome some kind of rules and regulations around this liquid.”

    Mr. Paul estimated that this year in the United States there will be sales of one million to two million liters of liquid used to refill e-cigarettes, and it is widely available on the Internet. Liquid Nicotine Wholesalers, based in Peoria, Ariz., charges $110 for a liter with 10 percent nicotine concentration. The company says on its website that it also offers a 55 gallon size. Vaporworld.biz sells a gallon at 10 percent concentrations for $195.

    Photo
    The website of Liquid Nicotine Wholesalers. The Food and Drug Administration has yet to impose rules on e-liquids’ sale.
    Mr. Paul said he was worried that some manufacturers outside the United States — China is a major center of e-cigarette production — were not always delivering the concentrations and purity of nicotine they promise. Some retailers, Mr. Paul said, “are selling liquid and they don’t have a clue what is in it.”

    Cynthia Cabrera, executive director of Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association, said she would also favor regulations, including those that would include childproof bottles and warning labels, and also manufacturing standards. But she said many companies already were doing that voluntarily, and that parents also needed to take some responsibility.

    “You wouldn’t leave a bottle of Ajax out,” she said. Advocates of e-cigarettes sometimes draw comparisons between nicotine and caffeine, characterizing both as recreational stimulants that carry few risks. But that argument is not established by science, and many health advocates take issue with the comparison.

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    “There’s no risk to a barista no matter how much caffeine they spill on themselves,” said Dr. Neal L. Benowitz, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, who specializes in nicotine research. “Nicotine is different.”

    Without proper precautions, like wearing gloves while mixing e-liquids, these products “represents a serious workplace hazard,” he said.

    The nicotine levels in e-liquids varies. Most range between 1.8 percent and 2.4 percent, concentrations that can cause sickness, but rarely death, in children. But higher concentrations, like 10 percent or even 7.2 percent, are widely available on the Internet. A lethal dose at such levels would take “less than a tablespoon,” according to Dr. Cantrell, from the poison control system in California. “Not just a kid. One tablespoon could kill an adult,” he said.

    A version of this article appears in print on March 24, 2014, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Selling a Poison by the Barrel: Liquid Nicotine for E-Cigarettes. Order Reprints|Today's Paper|Subscribe

    source:http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/24/bu...088400000&_r=1
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  2. #2
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    Love this statement from the article:
    "But, like e-cigarettes, e-liquids are not regulated by federal authorities...small bottles that are kept casually around the house for regular refilling of e-cigarettes."
    So regulating and/or taxing is going to control the behaviour of people that keep small flavoured juices around their home? Is that the leap of logic they are making there?
    Accidental poisonings are soaring, and even one intentional death, but they're not comparing that to deaths caused by smoking?

    Attempts to ban or tax it will probably lead to more people buying up nicotine in higher strength to stockpile at home, increasing the chance of accidental posioning IMHO.

    Maybe health departments should spend money on an educational campaign to prevent accidental poisonings, not spend their time trying to ban eliquids?
    Regulations will not stop people leaving juice bottles around the home for kids or pets to ingest. Regulations will cause people to get it any way they can before any law comes into effect, and stockpile it in larger volume around the home, probably in higher concentrations than they currently keep at home.
    Last edited by coopz; 25-03-14 at 04:33 AM.
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  3. #3
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    source: New York Times goes “more at 11:00″ with story on ecigs and poisoning | Anti-THR Lies and related topics

    Apparently the nation’s Paper of Record (*cough*) has decided that going tabloid is a better business model. Or perhaps even better is to go full local-television-news, with its cut-ins during prime-time programming: ”Six common household items that are planning to kill you tomorrow. We’ll tell you which ones tonight at 11:00.”

    The story is part of what they are now calling their series about e-cigarettes, which has seen about story per week for a month — see in particular my analysis of this one. Hey, better late than never getting to one of the major stories of 2012. Maybe it took until now for the powers that be to tell them how they were supposed to be spinning it.

    The story by Matt Richtel has the tabloid headline “Selling a Poison by the Barrel: Liquid Nicotine for E-Cigarettes”. The first sentence reads, “this article is intended to be a silly sensationalistic hatchet job, dictated to us by the tobacco control industry.”

    Actually, that is a paraphrase. The exact words are:

    A dangerous new form of a powerful stimulant is hitting markets nationwide, for sale by the vial, the gallon and even the barrel.

    My paraphrase is more accurate, though, since it does not include the lies that nicotine is a powerful stimulant (it is a mild stimulant), is hitting the markets (that was several years ago), or that consumers buy e-cigarette liquid by the barrel. Manufacturers, of course, often buy ingredients by the barrel — um, what else should they do?

    These “e-liquids,” the key ingredients in e-cigarettes, are powerful neurotoxins. Tiny amounts, whether ingested or absorbed through the skin, can cause vomiting and seizures and even be lethal. A teaspoon of even highly diluted e-liquid can kill a small child.

    I have never been a fan of the term “e-liquid” (the liquid is not electronic), and will continue to avoid it in my writing, but that is the widely accepted term, so I will call attention to the scare quotes. Rather than using the journalistic standard phrasing like “these nicotine solutions, called e-liquids,…”, Richtel intentionally inserts a dog whistle message by using a construction designed to sneer at street lingo. This is a minor complaint, of course, compared to the lies in the rest of the paragraph.

    E-cigarette liquid is not a powerful neurotoxin. Pure nicotine is, but the solutions are far short of “powerful”. The “tiny” amounts in question consist of many ml. You would have to keep that much on your skin a long time to get toxic effects or swallow a lot and manage to avoid the vomiting that he explicitly mentions to cause serious harm. For one teaspoon to kill a child, he would have to be very small (we are talking 15 lbs., not 30), it would have to be toward the high end of common nicotine concentrations, and he would have to absorb all the nicotine.

    I will spare you the rest of the lies, innuendo, and crypto-prohibitionism in the article. It includes the usual references to yummy flavors, quotes from ANTZ, and alarmist reporting of the small number of poison control calls (small compared to, say, NRT products) and emergency department visits. Never mentioned to provide context for those statistics is that the recipe for getting a lot of poison control calls, and more so hospital visits, is “ingestion of poison”+”huge fear that it is a much worse poison than it really is”. There are plenty of poisonings by, say, soap or coffee, that have the same effect as almost all of nicotine poisonings from traditional tobacco products, NRT, or e-cigarette liquid (vomiting). But the barrage of warnings results in most any nicotine ingestion resulting in a call or visit.

    The article also conflates occupational exposures (where there are larger quantities and higher nicotine concentrations before dilution) with household exposure. News flash: people working in manufacturing are exposed to a myriad of hazards, including poisoning, that they need to take precautions against. If a child has access to industrial quantities and concentrations of any manufacturing chemical, the problem is not with the chemical.

    Setting aside all the lies, there is, of course, a germ of truth to this. E-cigarette liquid is more toxic than most items that can be found sitting around someone’s living space rather than stored in the medicine cabinet or garage. ”Most”, because there are exceptions, including a stray peanut or other potent allergen (which would only be deadly to a few percent of the population, of course, but that is still greater than how often a teaspoon of e-cigarette liquid would be deadly).

    But since this story was presumably planted by those who wish to ban e-cigarettes, it is not a helpful story about how to avoid these risks, which is pretty easy. (Hint: Don’t leave your e-cigarette liquid anywhere you would not leave a loose Tylenol capsule.) Helping people make better/safer use of technology is left to the NYT’s excellent technology reporters. The editorial writers at The Paper of Record (and make no mistake, this “news” story is a thinly veiled editorial) prefer government command over consumer wisdom.

    The final paragraph reads:

    The nicotine levels in e-liquids varies. Most range between 1.8 percent and 2.4 percent, concentrations that can cause sickness, but rarely death, in children. But higher concentrations, like 10 percent or even 7.2 percent, are widely available on the Internet. A lethal dose at such levels would take “less than a tablespoon,” according to Dr. Cantrell, from the poison control system in California. “Not just a kid. One tablespoon could kill an adult,” he said.

    TrANTZlation: Richtel is saying, 1. I out-and-out lied to you in the second paragraph: normal concentrations are not all that hazardous, and I understated the quantity for even the higher concentrations by a factor of three (alternative interpretation: “I have never cooked in my life; isn’t a teaspoon the same as a tablespoon?”). 2. All the alarmism is about rarely-used high concentrations that are merely “available” (gasp! dangerous things are available on the internet? who knew? ban the internet!). 3. I went into journalism because I could not understand enough science to critically evaluate claims (a 7.2% solution x 1 Tbsp comes out to barely the estimated toxic dose for an adult, assuming she manages to absorb almost all of it (very difficult), but this exposure in an adult is only conceivable as a suicide — accidental consumption of that quantity seems rather unlikely).

    The NYT ramped up with the not-terrible article I dissected earlier, but it is starting to look like they have decided to beat the drum for a war on e-cigarettes, much like they did for Iraq (and we know how well that worked out). Even worse news is that there is an authoritative rumor that they will have something just as bad tomorrow or the next day. More at 11:00.
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    Sooner or later the media are going to have to deal with the fact that the incidence of lung cancer and empysema are falling due to the uptake of ecigs. That's years away of course but the truth will rise like oil above water eventually. The halving of lung cancer rates in Sweden due to snus is an inconvenient truth that keeps popping up in people's faces. Articles like this may sway some people who are already militant in their attitudes towards nicotine, but more and more people are also waking up and realising that it's all scare mongering and propaganda. I met an Englishman last night addicted to nicotine gum. He said he'd seen ecigs everywhere last time he was in Britain. All he wanted to know was where to get one. In our conversation I said "don't believe all the propaganda on the TV". He said "yeah I know, it's all about taxes and saving the tobacco industry." When the media repeats lies over and over people just stop believing it. The internet is too powerful in its influence now. People are doing their own research and coming to their own conclusions that vaping is very obviously a hell of a lot safer than smoking.

    btw I gave him Steam Ecigs' address and also referred him to this forum for info on how to get nicotine.
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    My grandma called me straight away after reading this article, freaking out because I was inhaling 'utter poison'.

    THANKS, THE AGE!! Top reporting.

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