23 October 2013

NSW Health is warning the community to be careful if buying the liquids used with e-cigarettes, also known as e-juice and e-liquid.

Testing of samples of the liquid has revealed that some contain high levels of nicotine that, if swallowed are potentially lethal.

Tests of samples recently collected by the Ministry of Health indicate 70% of the samples contain high levels of nicotine

Nicotine is a Schedule 7 dangerous poison. The unauthorised sale of nicotine is an offence under the NSW Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008.

NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant has urged consumers and parents considering using e-cigarettes to be particularly mindful of children and young adults accessing them and the liquids used in them.

NSW Health warns parents to be particularly vigilant as small children may find the contents of the liquids enticing as they may contain fruit, or confectionery flavoured additives.

There have been reports of harm to children ingesting the liquid in Australia and a death has been reported overseas. The e-liquid packages often do not accurately detail the ingredients of the liquids and do not have any child resistant closures.

Dr Chant said, “These liquids for e-cigarettes cannot legally contain nicotine. They are not meant to contain nicotine so consumers may not realise that they do and therefore they may not keep them out of reach from children and may mistakenly think they are reducing their nicotine exposure.”

NSW Health has written to all tobacco retailers to remind them of the laws around selling products containing nicotine