Tobacco-Free Kids Statement on Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Jul. 23 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – The Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015 was introduced in Congress earlier this year to provide the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) with the authority to require childproof packaging for liquid nicotine. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids supported this legislation because of the urgent need to protect children from the dangers of exposure to nicotine in the quickest, most effective way.

Today, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce voted to move similar legislation forward for full Committee consideration.

On June 30, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicated its intent to protect children from exposure to liquid nicotine based upon its current statutory authority and issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) seeking comments on nicotine exposure warnings and child-resistant packaging for liquid nicotine. 

The Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015 was introduced before the FDA announced its intention to address the problem of child exposure to liquid nicotine. As this legislation is considered by the full Committee, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids urges the members to continue to work in a bipartisan manner, taking into account the action proposed by the FDA, so that the bill will result in the strongest and most effective protection for children from liquid nicotine poisonings. The bill must preserve the FDA’s full authority to regulate all tobacco products, including its authority to regulate the child-resistant packaging of tobacco products.

Small children are currently at unnecessary risk of injury and death from easily accessed liquid nicotine used to refill electronic cigarettes. Nicotine liquids used in e-cigarettes are being sold without child proof packaging and in a wide range of candy flavors that are attractive to children, such as gummy bear, cotton candy and chocolate.  Liquid nicotine is highly toxic and sold in a highly concentrated form. It is common to find liquid nicotine containing upwards of 36 mg of nicotine per milliliter of liquid. At this concentration, a small 15 mL dropper bottle of liquid nicotine could be enough to kill four toddlers.

Recent data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) showed nearly 4,000 adverse incidents related to e-cigarette exposures in 2014, a 145 percent increase from 2013 and a 14-fold increase since 2011. In 2015, there have been 1,499 calls through May 31, 2015. 

This legislation would give the CPSC the authority to require the use of child-resistant packaging on liquid nicotine containers sold to consumers, a requirement that would take effect 180 days after enactment. The CPSC currently requires such packaging on many common toxic household substances like bleach, as well as FDA-regulated products like prescription drugs.

 

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