By Dana Dean
St. Louis (KSDK) -- Kids think they're drinking from a soda can, but inadvertently swallow chewing tobacco spit.
Poison centers in Missouri and Illinois have received over 50 cases combined his year.
You can watch YouTube videos of this happening, and while this video may be disgusting to some, we feel this story is important enough that we need to get the message across. According to poison centers, people who chew tobacco will often use an empty soda can or cup as a spittoon and children are getting their hands on these containers, thinking a beverage is inside.
So far this year, 24 exposure calls have come into the Illinois Poison Center and 32 have come into the Missouri Poison Center. Experts say when a child drinks saliva from a spittoon, symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness. It can even lead into seizures or cause death.
Julie Weber, Missouri Poison Center Director, said, "Disgusting as it is, they will pick up the saliva, the spit from the chewing tobacco. The tobacco can be extremely concentrated in this and just one drink of it does require us to move the child into the emergency department."
Poison centers say to be cautious when having a spittoon around young children and to make sure it's out of reach.
For a poison emegency, call 1-800-222-1222.