Update: This blog post was written five years. Research such as this suggest some of these fears over eliquid are not valid, although of course vapers should continue to ensure eliquid is kept out of reach of children.
One e-smoker, contributing to a discussion on an e-cigarette forum, recently speculated on the lethal nature of the e-juice he was carrying. (If you have no idea what we are talking about when we say e-juice, make sure you check out our E-Cigarette Glossary!)
A little 3cc bottle of TW’s unflavoured 36mg, put into an unsuspecting person’s drink, would be quite an assassination tool. Good thing I like most people!
To be honest, while we are keen proponents of the e-cigarette, e-juice, makes us nervous.
There are several times when alarm bells ring.
1. When ejuice is not contained in a child-proof bottle. Most responsible retailers put eliquid in a child proof bottle, but not every retailer is responsible. Allegedly, one child in Israel has already died after drinking ejuice from a bottle without a child-proof cap.
2. When eliquid is produced in a concentrated form and needs to be diluted before use. Sure, you’d have to be an idiot to use it neat – but there are plenty of idiots out there.
3. When eliquid is produced by amateurs. We were once offered eliquid by a man who produced it in his shed from pesticide-grade nicotine, and there has also been one close call in the US when a highly concentrated eliquid was sold.
True, eliquid is relatively safer, at least for an adult. But let’s not forget that Nicotine, in its pure form, is one of the most lethal poisons known to man.
While relatively few people get nicotine poisoning via a cigarette – most of the nicotine is burnt in the process of smoking – tobacco gatherers regularly get sick from nicotine leaching from wet tobacco leaves onto their skin.
The symptoms are not nice – they include vomiting, palpitations and tachycardia.
A serious case could be followed by coma and death.
Somewhere between 30 and 60 mg of nicotine are needed to kill someone (see Inchem’s page on nicotine – update: new research suggests that the actual lethal dose could be 20 times higher), and hopefully, with its unpleasant taste and sharp odour, a drinker would notice it before it killed them. As the e-juice carried by smokers is not in a pure form, fatalities in adults are pretty unlikely.
However, it takes far less nicotine to kill a child (around 10mg). In fact, recent stories in the news suggest that nicotine cartridges alone could be lethal.
With over twenty children a year already suffering from nicotine poisoning after eating cigarettes (which surely can’t taste that good) and e-smokers already complaining that nicotine liquid solution is not safe, it doesn’t take a massive leap of the imagination to see e-juice posing a threat to kids…
Update: Dr Murray Laugesson, one of the strongest defenders of the electronic cigarette, has also pointed out the dangers of the e-juice. You can see his warning here.
With our own range of eliquid, we’ve taken precautions to minimise the risk of nicotine poisoning by using pharmaceutical grade UK produced nicotine and ensuring all our bottles have child-proof caps. For further peace of mind, our eliquid is also tested in-house and in government approved laboratories for impurities and nicotine strength.