Over the past two weeks, there has been a virtual firestorm as outraged vapers protest a recent article in the New York Times, which described e-liquids as dangerous and even deadly. Like most coverage from the mainstream media, The Times focused on electronic cigarettes as a lethal option and completely ignored the benefits that vaping can offer smokers.
Forget the fact that electronic cigarettes eliminate thousands of carcinogens. Ignore the fact that there is no tobacco, no tar, no ash, and no smoke. All they want you to think about is e-liquid and the fact that it contains – gasp! – Nicotine.
There is no denying that nicotine is a stimulant and drinking e-liquid could theoretically kill you. However, there has never been a single death by accidental e-liquid ingestion. The Times ignored the lack of fatalities and focused on e-liquid related calls to Poison Control, which totaled 1,300 in 2013. Around a quarter of those calls resulted in visits to a hospital. If you look at the booming electronic cigarette industry and the massive sales volume of electronic cigarettes last year, the number of calls to poison control is actually very minimal.
If you take a look at the 2012 report from the National Poison Data System, there are a number of substances that case far more poisoning emergencies and fatalities. There were 193,443 reported cases of poisoning from household cleaners. Alcoholic beverages led to 54,445 calls to Poison Control and believe it or not, toothpaste led to 20,206 reported cases of poisoning.
When you think about over 20,000 people poisoned by toothpaste, those 365 hospital visits related to e-liquid seem almost insignificant. If the incidence of e-liquid poisoning increased to 15 times higher than 2013, it would still be less common than toothpaste poisoning. So if we are going to depict e-liquid as deadly and ban it out of fear of poisoning, it’s only fair that we outlaw the more deadly substances like household cleaners, alcoholic beverages, and yes – even toothpaste.