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E-cigarettes’ liquid drug can also kill

At left is a tobacco cigarette. Also shown are e-cigarettes, which use liquid nicotine.
At left is a tobacco cigarette. Also shown are e-cigarettes, which use liquid nicotine.Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

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A dangerous new form of a powerful stimulant is hitting markets nationwide, for sale by the vial, the gallon, and even the barrel.

The drug is nicotine, in its potent, liquid form — extracted from tobacco and tinctured with a cocktail of flavorings, colorings, and assorted chemicals to feed the fast-growing electronic cigarette industry.

These “e-liquids,” the key ingredient in e-cigarettes, are powerful neurotoxins. Tiny amounts can cause vomiting and seizures. A teaspoon of even highly diluted e-liquid can kill a small child.

But, like e-cigarettes, e-liquids are not regulated by federal authorities.

Evidence of the potential dangers is emerging. Toxicologists warn that e-liquids pose a significant risk to public health, particularly to children, who may be drawn to their neon-bright colors and fragrant flavorings.

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