Jamestown school administrator suffers nicotine poisoning

Mar 28, 2018

A Jamestown High School administrator suffered a case of “nicotine poisoning” after confiscating an e-cigarette from a student.

The tobacco control director for the Central Valley Health District in Jamestown, Nancy Neary, said Jamestown High Assistant vice-principal John Conway confiscated an e-cigarette and accompanying liquid from a student in one of the school’s rest rooms.

"When he handled that, some of the oil on the outside of the bottle got on his hand," Neary said. And she said Conway got sick almost immediately.

"He was nauseous," Neary said. "He was disoriented. He got very emotional. It was a pretty frightening experience for him."

Conway has recovered.

Neary said it doesn’t take much of the liquid nicotine to cause health problems. She said because of that,  young children could also be at a real risk.

"Many of the e-liquids are candy-flavored," Neary said. "Some have packaging that looks like candy, like gummy bears. It also smells sweet. If children ingest any amount of the liquid, even as little as a tablespoon, it can kill them."

The State Health Department’s Tobacco Prevention and Control director, Neil Charvat, said this shows that, contrary to popular belief,  e-cigarettes and e-liquids contain nicotine.

"That's something that should be handled with care," Charvat said. "Nicotine is a poison. It is an ingredient in some pesticides. It can cause some damage."

Charvat said recent statistics in North Dakota show more young people are willing to try e-cigarettes, even if they haven’t tried regular cigarettes.