A new front is clearly opening up in the war against e-cigarettes, this time in Sweden, but expect others to follow. Inevitably “the children” are involved.
The Local reports:
Twenty-nine cases of nicotine poisoning specifically from electronic cigarettes were reported this year in Sweden, nearly a tenfold increase from last year’s three incidents. A third of the reported cases were children, the Swedish Poison Information Centre (SPIC) stated.
“We are extremely worried about this product, which is spreading like wildfire,” said Barbro Holm Ivarsson, spokesperson from Psychologists Against Tobacco, to news agency TT. “And if such strong liquids are going to exist then it is a very serious problem that they are not regulated yet.”
… “The concentration of nicotine in a 10 milliletre bottle (of smoke juice) is so strong it can kill a small child,” Ivarsson said, confirming a statement by the World Health Organisation.
In May, a two-year-old girl in Israel died after drinking the liquid, and cases of liquid nicotine poisoning are becoming increasingly common worldwide. Poisoning usually occurs through drinking liquid nicotine refills for the e-cigs.
Pharmacists at SPIC have seen serious cases involving symptoms of vomiting, shock, seizures, and heart palpitations, but no deaths yet.
Oh, good grief. Without wanting to minimize the suffering involved, let’s just pause to note that these Swedish cases involved a grand total of 29 children, none of whom died. It is even unclear from the article whether their cases were among the more serious incidents noted by the SIPC.
Let’s also note that, according to EU data, 40 percent of all fatal injuries within the (European) home are caused by poisoning (a total that excludes those killed by overindulgence in illegal drugs or alcohol), a tally that would suggest that 29 non-fatal poisonings is a rather small total.
Obviously, e-cigarettes should—so far as is reasonably practicable—be child-proofed. Regulation to that effect would be a sensible idea, just as it has been for many other medical and household substances, but this Swedish panic is really about something else: the demonization of e-cigarettes.
And why demonize something that is a life-saver?
I wrote about this phenomenon recently over at NRO and so I will (lazily and immodestly) quote myself:
The campaign against tobacco began with the best of intentions, but it has long since degenerated into an instrument for its activists both to order others around and to display their own virtue. And with that comes an insistence on a rejection of tobacco so absolute, so pure, that it has become detached from any logic other than the logic of control, the classic hallmark of a cult. So mighty is the supposed power of this anathematized leaf that anything — even when tobacco-free — that looks like a cigarette or provides any approximation of its pleasures is suspect.
Incidentally, take a look at the comments section to The Local’s piece. It’s well worth reading.