What is dripping and is your teen doing it?

Kids are trying this potentially dangerous e-cigarette hack

If e-cigarettes weren’t bad enough, there’s a new method of using e-liquid that creates even more potent clouds of vapor: “dripping.”

While regular electronic cigarettes produce vapor by gradually drawing liquid into a heating coil through an automatic wick, dripping involves placing drops of e-liquid directly onto the exposed heating coil of an e-cigarette and then immediately inhaling.

According to a recent survey, more than one in four teens who use e-cigs has tried “dripping,” claiming it improves the taste and produces a stronger “hit.”

Experts are concerned that dripping can cause problems in a number of ways.

“Heating the liquid at higher levels releases more hazardous products from the liquids,” said Ashley Webb, director of the Kentucky Poison Control Center. “The other concern is that handling the liquid in this manner increases the risk of exposing the skin to high doses of nicotine, which can result in everything from nausea, vomiting and dizziness to changes in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, seizures, coma and even death.”

If that’s not problem enough, Dr. Webb said dripping could potentially hurt others in your home.

“It seems that having the bottle of liquid sitting out with an e-cigarette would increase the likelihood that it could be mistakenly opened and accessed by young children,” she said. “It’s already a problem —kids are being treated for ingesting liquid nicotine every day in the U.S.”

Worried that your teen is dripping or using e-cigarettes? Jenita Lyons, manager of Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness, recommends being up front about it.

“Teens are notorious for being ahead of the latest trends and for being risk takers, and e-cigs are no exception,” Lyons said. “Although sale of e-cigs is illegal to anyone under 18, teens are easily accessing e-cig products online. Parents need to monitor teens’ online activity and watch for signs of use, including dry skin, dry cough and irritated mouth or throat. If you suspect your teen is using, ask them, explain the dangers and express your concern.”

Learn more about dripping

The Kentucky Poison Control Center provides 24/7 free access to specially trained nurses, pharmacists and physicians. Calls are confidential. You can reach the poison control center’s hotline at (800) 222-1222 or go to kypoisoncontrol.com for more information.