GLADEWATER, TX (KLTV) One East Texas woman said she became terribly ill the reason? She said it was e cigarettes.

The Gladewater woman is determined to spread the word, claiming that after switching from regular cigarettes to electronic cigarettes, she fell ill. She said that she had hoped the new product would be safer, and ultimately help her quit smoking, but she never expected what happened next.

It was three weeks ago that Debbie Jean Hendrix had an eye opening talk with her husband.

“I told him, I said, ‘I don’t want to live like that,'” Hendrix said. “And he said, ‘Well, you better quit smoking.” Well, that’s when we started the e cigarettes,” she explained.

Debbie said she saw an elderly woman who required an oxygen tank because of smoking. But, just days after switching to e cigarettes, Debbie said she began to wonder about the product’s safety.

“I started feeling really kind of jittery,” Hendrix said. “And once I started feeling real jittery me and my husband went to town to eat and I got so sick I couldn’t keep anything down,” she remembered.

That’s when Debbie said she went to her doctor.

“He thought I was on drugs when I went in there. That’s how bad it was,” she said.

Debbie said she does have pre existing health issues, but she said, her doctor insisted she quit the e cigarettes.

“He would definitely say that the vapor cigarettes needed to go because they had chemical in them and he said it could be the cause from the chemical,” Hendrix said.

“From what I understand, the poisoning could take place through one of three venues,” Dr. Bill Sorensen, a health science expert, explained.

Nicotine poisoning can happen by inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption.

Debbie did notice when changing the liquid on her electronic cigarette that it often leaked, causing liquid nicotine to spill onto her hands.

“You should be feeling those symptoms within minutes, maybe a few hours after the experience with the e cigarette,” Dr. Sorensen explained.

And that’s exactly what Debbie said happened to her.

“People might be thinking that it’s safer and because it’s safer I m allowed to smoke twice as much,” Dr. Sorensen said.

Though other chemicals may be gone, he said, nicotine is ever present.

It is toxic. It’s addictive. And even if you’re not poisoned by it, or even if you don’t become a little sick, you’re on the road to addiction.”

As for Debbie, she has stopped using e cigarettes.

“I do feel a little better now that I have got off of them and I wouldn’t recommend them to no one,” Debbie said.

She also said she’ll be quitting smoking completely.

The Centers for Disease Control published a report this month stating calls to poison control centers about e cigarettes have shot up from about one per month in September 2010, to approximately 215 per month in February 2014.

Many of those calls involved children, but the CDC did attribute them to e cigarettes related overdoses.

Copyright 2014 KLTV. All rights reserved.


E-cigarettes rise in popularity despite health reports –

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Frederick, Md. residents are still using e cigarettes despite health reports from the Centers for Disease control. FREDERICK, Md. Calls to U.S. poison centers regarding exposure to e cigarette chemicals has sky rocketed since 2010.

According to the study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), calls have gone up from one person a month in September 2010 to 215 a month in February 2014. Even more alarming, the study shows that more than half of the calls reported to poison control involved children younger than six. Yet despite these findings, locals are saying the cigarette alternative is a life saver.

“This is saving my life. Literally saving my life. My doctor has told me ‘Just keep doing it. Keep doing it’ because he can tell already that my lungs sound better,” said Elaine Ferro, who switched to e cigarettes after smoking for over 30 years.

Ferro hopes to eventually transition to not smoking at all.

In a statement, CDC director Tom Frieden said liquid nicotine used in e cigarettes can be hazardous. A recurring notion from health officials that has not stopped the popularity of the $2 billion e cigarette industry.

“You know that it’s not regulated at all by the FDA when you’re vaporizing these e liquids and putting them into your lungs but you’re basically looking as if its less harmful than cigarettes,” said James Kendrick, an e cigarette user.

A logic that many e cigarette smokers use and health officials continue to debate over.
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