MN poison control exaggerates dangers to toddlers from e-cigarettes

By ACSH Staff — Mar 20, 2014
More fearmongering hype about e-cigarettes: Minnesota Dept. of Health trumpets alarming increase in children s poisoning from e-cigarettes. Let s look at the data: nothing actually happened, but let s be very afraid anyway.

NICOTINE & HEALTHAnd the beat goes on: while the sick and dead from cigarette smoking continue to pile up, public health officials remain on the edge of hysteria, issuing inane warnings about the watery mist emanating from e-cigarettes, which have freed millions of smokers from the addiction to real cigarettes.

Among the latest such alerts: the Minnesota Dept. of Health and the Hennepin County Poison Control System announced that e-cigarette poisonings increased by some ungodly amount between 2012 and 2013. What are the actual numbers, and what do they mean? Not so much context provided: to get past the scare headlines, you ve got to look at the actual data, not something journalists devoted to sensationalist, scary stories like to do. Takes too much time.

Well, here s the actual basis of these stories: there were seventy-four reports of e-cigarette exposure called in to the center last year. Let us emphasize: all of these poisonings were derived from these 74 phone calls! No actual poisoning was needed to be included, all calls were deemed poisonings! Further, here s what the Health Commissioner had to say:

Minnesota Department ofHealth Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said in a statement, Fortunately, none of the poisonings hospitalized or seriously injured children in 2013. But given the rise in poisonings, we really want parents to know that this liquid nicotine can pose a fatal risk and that they should store it out of the reach of children.

Umm, what? The Commissioner, after pointing out that no child was in fact harmed, continued to use the term the poisonings. So, how do we deal with a problem like this, where nothing much actually happened? The answer, sadly, lies even further away from the headlines: the MN fact sheet on e-cigarettes replete with the same lies and exaggerations we have grown accustomed to.

ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross had this to say about the phony, state-hyped epidemic of sick children in Minnesota from toxic exposures to e-cigarettes: This is just another brick in the wall of hypocrisy from the monolithic governmental witch-hunt against e-cigarettes. Such disinformation and manipulation of data would be unacceptable in any scientific study; the fact that these lies are coming from public health sources, and are aimed at impeding progress against our nation s #1 killer cigarettes makes it criminal, in my opinion. I ve said it before, and I fear we here at ACSH will be saying it again and again, until the propaganda campaign against e-cigarettes is stopped, either from within as the officials come to their senses, or from without, by any means necessary.

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