The number of Oklahoma kids getting their hands on liquid nicotine used to refill e-cigarettes and being rushed to the emergency room grows each year.
Ren Gaulrapp’s 4- year-old happens to be one of them.
Her son was supposed to be taking a nap, when he snuck into her bedroom and got his hands on a small vial of liquid nicotine she uses to refill her e-cigarettes.
“We hear a little noise, come in and he has taken the lid off of all of them and has this liquid everywhere. He`s got it all over him. He`s been eating it,” says Gaulrapp. “The liquid itself is very sweet. There`s not really anything in it in the lower nicotine levels that are going to discourage a child from wanting to play in them.”
He vomited all day and then suffered painful withdrawal symptoms.
But doctors said he was lucky Gaulrapp’s e-liquid had low nicotine levels.
Jerry Hance at Flavor Vapor North says the higher the nicotine level, the more dangerous the liquid.
“There’s hundreds of poisons in every household,” says Hance. “Nicotine since it’s came about, whether it’s in a cigarette or in a pipe, no matter what it is, it is a poison.”
The e-juice at his shop is made by chemists in a lab while most stores in Oklahoma make theirs in house. He thinks that might be where some of the lethal liquids are coming from.
To solve that problem, Hance says regulation is the answer.
“You’re never going to be able to make a product and sell it without it being regulated,” says Hance. “Come in regulate it and make everybody go to a lab.”
The accident hasn’t stopped Gaulrapp from using e-cigarettes, the liquid nicotine at her home just goes on a higher shelf now and she’s added to her son’s “do not touch” list.
“It smells like candy, it really isn’t,” says Gaulrapp. “This really can hurt you.”