II. Background

  1. In U.S., FDA will regulate e-cigs as Tobacco products as of August 2016

III. Mechanism

  1. Battery powered electronic device vaporizes a concentrated nicotine liquid in a replaceable cartridge
  2. User inhales nicotine vapor
  3. Various nicotine preparations are sold and not regulated
  4. Some nicotine solutions are flavored or colored (attracting young children)

IV. Precautions

  1. Not recommended as Nicotine Replacement
  2. NOT a Nicotine Replacement device (unlike Nicotine Patch, Nicotine Gum)
  3. New, inventive way for companies (several that market Tobacco) to market an unregulated (in 2014), addictive nicotine product
  4. E-Cigarette has had a recent increase in use among U.S. high school students
  5. Nicotine solutions are not regulated and their labels may be inaccurate and their contents contaminated
    1. Inadequate safety data available for these devices and the inhaled vapor compared other Nicotine Replacement forms

V. Adverse Effects: Nicotine toxicity

  1. Nicotine solution is sold in large refillable 100 mg bottles
  2. Nicotine solutions are highly concentrated (up to 100 mg/ml)
  3. The solution is well absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract
  4. Toxicity risk is high when ingested by young children
    1. Toddlers experience symptoms with 1 mg ingestion
    2. Lethal dose at 6-13 mg/kg
  5. Nicotine has a Succinylcholine-like stimulatory effect on nicotinic receptors
    1. Results in Seizures followed by paralysis

VI. Signs: Toxic Ingestion (children)

  1. Nausea
  2. Vomiting
  3. Seizures
    1. Onset within 2 hours of ingestion (and typically within 15-30 minutes)
  4. Paralysis
    1. Follows Seizures

VII. Management: Toxic ingestion (children)

  1. Seizures
    1. Treat with Benzodiazepines
    2. See Status Epilepticus
  2. Paralysis or fasciculations
    1. Intubate under Rocuronium (avoid Succinylcholine)
    2. Post-intubation Sedation with Benzodiazepines

VIII. Resources

IX. References

  1. (2014) Presc Lett 21(6): 36
  2. Swadron and Nordt in Herbert (2014) EM:Rap 14(6): 14
  3. Vardavas (2012) Chest 141(6):1400-6 [PubMed]
  4. Trtchounian (2011) Tob Control 20:47-52 [PubMed]

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