In another blow to advocates of e-cigarettes, reports of poisonings related to the devices have spiked considerably over the past three years. 

Back in September 2010, poison control centers in the United States responded to an average of 1 call related to e-cigarette poisonings per month. The most recent reports, from February 2014, have seen that number rise to 215 calls per month. The figures have been released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a bid to demonstrate the risks associated with the electronic devices, which many supporters claim are safer than standard cigarettes due to the lack of tar. 

The data, published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, looked at a total of 2,405 calls related to e-cigarette exposure between September 2010 and February 2014, and a total of 16,248 calls related to standard cigarette exposure in that same time frame. Unsurprisingly, 51.1 percent of the calls related to e-cigarettes involved inadvertent exposure to children aged five and under; while 42 percent were associated with people aged 20 years and over. In most cases, the poisoning occurred as a result of ingestion, inhalation, and when the liquid that fills the device came into contact with eyes and skin. 

Children, in particular, are vulnerable to poisoning, with the packaging and flavors such as fruit and bubble gum appealing to them in the same way that candy might. The liquid nicotine acts fast, within minutes, causing nausea, vomiting, and skin irritation. "What's attractive to kids: It's the smell. It's the scent. It's the color," said director of the Georgia Poison Center, Gaylord Lopez. "A kid's not going to know the difference between a poison and something they can drink."

The number of calls related to standard cigarette poisoning, while high, has remained consistent in the time evaluated. 

E-cigarettes are not childproof, nor does the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulate the products. Several state and city governments are taking certain aspects into their own hands; for example, banning the use of e-cigarette devices in public places. However, legislation around the products remains inconsistent.

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