Health officials raise concerns about e-cigarettes

AP Photo

Click here to view the videos in this story on the mobile app. 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – As e-cigarettes continue to grow in popularity, so do the health concerns.

The New England Journal of Medicine released its latest findings on e-cigarettes. Among them were acute toxic effects caused by accidental or intentional ingestion of e-cigarette liquids and physical injury caused by the e-cigarette device.

According to Vanderbilt University Medical Center surgeon Dr. Callie Thompson, there has been a significant increase in burn incidents from the devices in the last year.

RELATED STORY: E-cigarette explosion injures girl at Orlando theme park

“Typically, this starts with the thermal runaway from the lithium batteries that are in the device. Either the batteries are free in someone’s pocket or potentially installed incorrectly in the machine.”

Dr. Thompson says Vanderbilt is seeing one to two e-cigarette burn victims a month from flash burns, blast injuries, and chemical burns.

“I’ve primarily seen second and third degree burns. There have been a few patients, since I’ve been here at Vanderbilt, that I’ve had to operate on and do skin grafts for their burns because they were so severe that they wouldn’t heal on their own.”

The New England Journal of Medicine study also mentioned the hazards of acute toxic effects caused by accidental or intentional ingestion of e-cigarette liquids.

Poison Control data shows the number of children, age six and under, who have ingested e-juice has increased 1,500 percent. The colorful, sometimes flavored liquid, is highly concentrated with nicotine, which is dangerous for anyone to drink, especially a small child.

Dr. Thompson advises not using the device since there still isn’t enough research on e-cigarettes.