The Minnesota Department of Health says the rising popularity of e-cigarettes has resulted in a sizable increase in the number of cases of nicotine poisoning involving young children.

Officials say the Minnesota Poison Control System saw a 35-percent jump in e-cigarette and e-juice poisonings among children five years old and younger between 2013 and last year, when there were 62 reports of nicotine poisoning involving young children. Officials note the total from 2012 was only 3.

The health department says the poisonings included calls where unattended e-cigarette liquids were swallowed, inhaled, absorbed through the skin or came in contact with the eyes.

The department has issued an advisory in an effort to inform parents about the health dangers of accidental nicotine poisoning and the harm that can result from ongoing nicotine use by teenagers and pregnant women.

“Many people think nicotine is addictive but not necessarily harmful on its own for teens and young adults, and that is not the case,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “We know there are clear health risks of nicotine exposure for youth.” 

The health department advisory reports the symptoms of nicotine poisoning may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures along with difficulty breathing. A fatal dose for an adult is between 50-60 milligrams, and it would be expected that smaller amount could prove fatal for a child. Officials say the amount of nicotine found in e-juice containers can range from zero to over 34 milligrams.