Vaping has been in the news in Canada lately for all the wrong reasons – a child ended up drinking e-liquid.
The incident happened at a school in New Brunswick where a nine-year-old girl and all of her friends tried some after finding the bottle in the playground. According to the girl’s mother, it was the scent of the liquid which proved attractive along with the picture of a unicorn on the bottle.
Unsurprisingly, after consuming the e-liquid the girl soon began to feel unwell, with the school having to get hold of her mother after she reported dizziness, nausea and cramps. Furthermore, she ended up getting the e-liquid on her hand too.
After becoming wary of the dangers from a quick search online, the mother, Lea L’Hoir went to the hospital with her child for a check-up. It’s claimed that the hospital diagnosed the girl with nicotine poisoning before eventually releasing her in the evening.
In an interview with CBC, the mother spoke about how scared she was during the incident, expressing worries about how it could have been fatal or the dangers if she ended up consuming more e-liquid – after all, she wasn’t being watched at the time. We are currently unaware of whether anybody else reported symptoms after drinking the vape oil.
What could be done with labels?
The dangers of anybody consuming e-liquid, and therefore nicotine are clear. Death from doing so is perhaps a stretch too far but if it was a potent e-liquid and enough was drank then it couldn’t be ruled out. This isn’t the first time it’s happened and who knows if there are any other incidents that have gone unreported?
The e-liquid in question is called Unicorn Milk and the mother was extremely shocked about how the labelling did nowhere near enough in stating the dangers of consumption. The ingredients were listed in a tiny font and the poison symbol was also easy to miss. New Beginnings Vape Studio, who make Unicorn Milk, have not officially said whether they will make alterations to the label, but have hinted that they will.
It comes at a time when Bill S-5 is making its way through the Canadian Senate. The bill is bad news for vapers, because if it goes through, Health Canada will have the power to regulate flavoring and labels. We could perhaps let labelling go, but flavors are essential to the appeal of vaping. The law’s intention is to remove any features from vaping that may make it attractive to minors.
Where does the blame lie?
None of this looks good for vaping, so it’s key that we ascertain where the blame lies so such embarrassing and potentially dangerous incidents can be eliminated.
Companies must look for ways to make e-liquids appealing for adults but not children – a difficult, but necessary task. And perhaps companies would do well to get rid of labelling which could see products perceived as candy.
Moreover, it’s important that the public recognizes that while vaping is much healthier than smoking, exercising care and responsibility over products – especially around minors – is still important. If vape companies can take the lead on these challenges, maybe it could paint the entire vape community in a helpful light, and demonstrate our desire to be a force for good.
But what’s obvious is that this story has come at an awful time when the supposed links between e-liquids and children have reached fever pitch in the media. We would say that all vape companies have an ethical responsibility to eliminate confusion on what vape oil is. It’s better that vape companies address it than have it addressed for them.