WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate last night approved a measure to require manufacturers to put child-proof caps on the small bottles of liquid nicotine available for purchase in stores across the country.
It’s the first time the Senate has taken up and passed a bill aimed at regulating liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes and other vaping devices.
“Just a small amount of this stuff can seriously injure or even kill a small child,” said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), who authored the legislation. “Making these bottles child-proof is just common sense.”
Nelson’s legislation would require child-resistant packaging for any liquid nicotine vial sold in the United States. Nelson first introduced the bill last year after increased reports of children falling ill, and in at least one case, dying from liquid nicotine poisoning. It was approved by the Senate Commerce Committee, but never made it to the full Senate for a vote. So the Florida lawmaker introduced it again this year, vowing to push even harder for its passage.
Liquid nicotine, sold in concentrated form for use in e-cigarettes, often comes in brightly-colored, easy-to-open vials with enticing flavors such as Fruity Loops, Peppermint Patty, and Gummi Bear. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, a single teaspoon of this product could kill a small child.
Calls to poison control centers for liquid nicotine exposure have spiked in recent years, according to the AAPCC, going up from just one call per month in September 2010 to 318 calls per month in March of this year. Many of these calls involved children five years old or younger.
The Senate approved Nelson’s legislation by unanimous consent late yesterday. It now goes to the House for final passage.