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Tobacco-Free Kids Welcomes Congressional Approval of Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
January 11, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today took necessary action to protect America’s kids from nicotine poisoning by approving legislation requiring that liquid nicotine be sold in child-resistant packaging, consistent with Consumer Product Safety Commission standards. The Senate previously approved the legislation (the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act), so today’s vote clears the way for the bill to go to President Obama for his signature.

This legislation is urgently needed because of the skyrocketing number of poisoning cases involving liquid nicotine used in electronic cigarettes, which jumped from 271 cases in 2011 to 3,783 in 2014, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. More than half of these cases involved children under the age of 6. These trends are not surprising given the sale of liquid nicotine in bright colors and sweet flavors such as gummy bear and cotton candy that clearly appeal to kids.

This legislation addresses one aspect of the public health and safety challenges posed by e-cigarettes. It is also critical that the White House act without further delay to issue a long-overdue final rule establishing FDA authority over e-cigarettes. FDA authority is needed to impose a national prohibition on e-cigarette sales to kids, prevent the use of marketing tactics and flavors that appeal to kids, establish appropriate health warnings and ensure any health claims about e-cigarettes are backed by sound science, among other steps.