By Dana Dean
St. Louis (KSDK) -- Nicotine gum is meant for those who want to stop smoking, but it can be dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands.
The package comes with a warning label; it says these pieces may contain enough nicotine to make children sick. And that's exactly what poison centers on both sides of the river say is happening when kids can't tell the difference between this and regular gum.
Poison experts say children are accidentally chewing nicotine gum because they think it is regular gum. They'll find it lying around the home or in a purse. The Illinois Poison Center and the Missouri Poison Center combined have received dozens of exposure calls this year because of nicotine gum.
Symptoms in a child who chews nicotine gum may include nausea and vomiting. Experts say 30 to 90 minutes is all it takes for something even worse to happen to a child because they've had too much nicotine.
Julie Weber, Missouri Poison Center Director, said, "What happens is the amount of nicotine in there is 2.5 milligrams and it's more concentrated and it absorbs through the mouth and it can cause, actually, in young children, seizures."
Keep nicotine gum out of the reach of children and wrap used pieces of gum in paper and throw them in the trash. Make sure to call a poison center immediately if a child chews nicotine gum.
For a poison emergency call 1-800-222-1222.