Journal of Medical Toxicology

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 350–357 | Cite as

Exposure Calls to U. S. Poison Centers Involving Electronic Cigarettes and Conventional Cigarettes—September 2010–December 2014

  • Kevin Chatham-StephensEmail author
  • Royal Law
  • Ethel Taylor
  • Stephanie Kieszak
  • Paul Melstrom
  • Rebecca Bunnell
  • Baoguang Wang
  • Hannah Day
  • Benjamin Apelberg
  • Lee Cantrell
  • Howell Foster
  • Joshua G. Schier
Original Article



E-cigarette use is increasing, and the long-term impact on public health is unclear. We described the acute adverse health effects from e-cigarette exposures reported to U.S. poison centers.


We compared monthly counts and demographic, exposure, and health effects data of calls about e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes made to poison centers from September 2010 through December 2014.


Monthly e-cigarette calls increased from 1 in September 2010, peaked at 401 in April 2014, and declined to 295 in December 2014. Monthly conventional cigarette calls during the same period ranged from 302 to 514. E-cigarette calls were more likely than conventional cigarette calls to report adverse health effects, including vomiting, eye irritation, and nausea. Five e-cigarette calls reported major health effects, such as respiratory failure, and there were two deaths associated with e-cigarette calls.


E-cigarette calls to U.S. poison centers increased over the study period, and were more likely than conventional cigarettes to report adverse health effects. It is important for health care providers and the public to be aware of potential acute health effects from e-cigarettes. Developing strategies to monitor and prevent poisonings from these novel devices is critical.


Electronic nicotine delivery systems Poison centers Health effects 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest


Source of Funding

No dedicated funding was allocated specifically for this analysis.


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Copyright information

© American College of Medical Toxicology (outside the USA) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Chatham-Stephens
    • 1
    Email author
  • Royal Law
    • 1
  • Ethel Taylor
    • 1
  • Stephanie Kieszak
    • 1
  • Paul Melstrom
    • 2
  • Rebecca Bunnell
    • 2
  • Baoguang Wang
    • 3
  • Hannah Day
    • 3
  • Benjamin Apelberg
    • 3
  • Lee Cantrell
    • 4
  • Howell Foster
    • 5
  • Joshua G. Schier
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Environmental Hazards and Health EffectsNational Center for Environmental Health, CDCAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDCAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Center for Tobacco Products, Food and Drug AdministrationSilver SpringUSA
  4. 4.California Poison Control System—San Diego DivisionSan DiegoUSA
  5. 5.Arkansas Poison Control CenterLittle RockUSA

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