Electronic cigarette explosion/burn and poisoning related emergency department visits, 2018–2019

Matthew E. Rossheim, Kayla K. McDonald, Eric K. Soule, Gilbert W. Gimm, Melvin D. Livingston, Tracey E. Barnett, David H. Jernigan, Dennis L. Thombs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Electronic cigarette (ECIG) use has increased dramatically in recent years. Negative ECIG-related acute health effects have included explosion/burn injuries from battery failure and child ingestion/poisoning of liquid nicotine. However, there is an urgent need for continued surveillance of ECIG health effects to determine whether these outcomes change as ECIG devices and liquids rapidly evolve. This study updates national estimates of ECIG-related emergency department (ED) visits and describes the context of these injuries. Methods: A keyword search of case narrative text was used to identify ECIG-related ED visits in the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) data. These cross-sectional data are designed to be weighted to provide national estimates of consumer product-related injuries treated in EDs. ECIG-related injuries were described and categorized, and sampling weights applied to model national estimates. Results: From 2015 to 2019 there were an estimated 3369 ED visits from ECIG explosion/burn injuries (95% CI = 2020, 4718), and an estimated 676 visits from 2019 alone (95% CI = 315, 1036). In 2018–2019, there were an estimated 1550 cases of children <5 years old ingesting ECIG liquids (95% CI = 778, 2322). Conclusions: Despite a notable shift in the US market towards ECIG devices that use lower electrical power and disposable “pods” (e.g., JUUL), liquid chemical ingestion among young children and ECIG explosion/burn injuries persist. Improved product regulations are urgently needed to prevent negative health effects caused by ECIGs, as well as prevent their ingestion and use by children.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes)
  • Electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS)
  • Injury prevention and control
  • Surveillance and monitoring
  • Tobacco product

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