Liquid Nicotine’s Child-Proof Packaging Bill Advance in House

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In March, U.S. Representative for Connecticut‘s 5th congressional district – Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) introduced a bill to protect children from the accidental consumption of liquid nicotine, which is used in electronic cigarettes.

On July 23, legislators on the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade used a voice vote to pass the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015.

The bill will now proceed to be discussed and voted upon in the full House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is required by the legislation to issue a rule that would require the use of special packaging for liquid nicotine containers.

This packaging should be designed in such a way that children below the age of five years find it difficult to break or open.

Fred Upton (R-Mich.) – the Chairman of the Subcommittee, said that he’s aware of the FDA’s future plan to take regulatory action related to electronic cigarettes. However, he emphasised that the aim of this draft measure wasn’t meant to create a jurisdictional clash between government agencies or restrain the FDA from taking any action in this matter in the future.

Rather, it’s simply focused on protecting the children at present.

Why Emphasis Was Given on Such Packaging for liquid Nicotine?

Poison control centres reported in November that calls over e-cigarettes in 2014 had almost doubled from the 1,543 exposures that were reported in 2013. A majority of these cases involved children aged less than six years.

In December, report of the death of a child in upstate New York was attributed to the ingestion of liquid nicotine. According to Upton, such reported poisonings were an immediate concern to the public health.

He said they called for an immediate action as any additional delay to pave way for child-proof packaging for lethal liquid nicotine would have been a big risk for the country’s children.

The subcommittee was lauded by the AAP (American Academy of Paediatrics) for its efforts to move the bill forward.

In a news release, Sandra Hassink – the AAP President, said that liquid nicotine is available in a range of bright colours and flavours (like gummy bear and cotton candy), which can poison children. She said it was no surprise that this lethal object has found its way into the hands of the toddlers.

The FDA hasn’t yet finalized its deeming rule, which would control the packaging and sale of e- cigars and cigarettes for the first time.

However, the AAP said this bill would safeguard the agency’s authority to control tobacco products’ child-resistant packaging.

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