Liquid nicotine is a poison, so why is it being packaged like junk food?

Liquid nicotine is a poison, so why is it being packaged like junk food?
Liquid nicotine is a poison, so why is it being packaged like junk food?

Among the products that were called out by US regulators in a flurry of warning letters was something called Whip’d Strawberry, packaged in such a way that it looks like Reddi-wip topping. But it’s liquid nicotine — and if a hungry kid mistakenly squirted it into their mouth, they could face vomiting, seizures, and even death.

Elite Vaporworks and Cosmic Fog Vapors, two companies that sell the product, are among the recipients of 13 warning letters the US Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission sent today. The charge? The e-cig liquids look too appetizing, and it’s putting kids’ lives at risk.

Nicotine is poisonous because it mimics one of the chemical messengers that nerves use to communicate. Too much, and it can mess up signals like the ones tell your heart how fast to beat and your muscles to move, and can lead to vomiting, abdominal cramps, drooling, seizures, problems breathing, paralysis, and even death. The risk is real, says medical toxicologist Edward Boyer, an associate professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “This is not new, it’s not hidden — it’s common, and it’s well described,” Boyer says. “This is by no stretch of the imagination a scare tactic.”

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