WASHINGTON, D.C. - In the wake of recent reports showing a surge in the number of children being poisoned by liquid nicotine, a Senate committee voted today to require manufacturers to put child-proof caps on the small bottles available for purchase in stores across the country.
It’s the first time Congress has advanced legislation aimed at tackling the issue of unregulated liquid nicotine containers, the sale of which has become widespread with the advent of e-cigarettes and vaping devices.
“Our first priority is to make sure this stuff isn’t hurting our kids,” said legislation sponsor, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Orlando. "Then we can continue to look at whether or not additional steps need to be taken to protect the general public.”
The Senate Commerce Committee, by a unanimous voice vote, approved Nelson’s legislation to require child-resistant packaging for any liquid nicotine sold to consumers. It now goes to the full Senate.
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Meantime, the effort to make liquid nicotine safer for consumers gained momentum in the House of Representatives where Rep. Elizabeth Etsy of Connecticut has filed legislation nearly identical to Nelson’s.
Nationwide, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there have been more than 2,700 calls regarding liquid nicotine exposure through Aug. 31 of this year – a pace double last year’s total. And the 1,351 cases reported last year represented a 300 percent increase from 2012. Nelson’s legislation has drawn the support of the American Academy of Otolaryngology, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for Respiratory Care, American Association of Poison Control Centers, American College of Cardiology, American College of Medical Toxicology, American College of Physicians, American College of Preventive Medicine, American Public Health Association, Arizona Consumers Council, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Boston Public Health Commission, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund, Chicago Consumer Coalition, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Federation of California, Consumer Federation of the Southeast, Consumers Union, EverThrive Illinois, First Focus Campaign for Children, Kids in Danger, March of Dimes, Minnesota Department of Health, National Association of County and City Health Officials, Ohio Public Health Association, Oncology Nursing Society, Partnership for Prevention, Public Citizen and U.S. PIRG and Virginia Citizens Consumer Council.