Esty calling for child-resistant caps on liquid nicotine containers used to refill e-cigarettes
Today, to kick off National Poison Prevention Week, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) introduced the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act. Esty’s bill would require child safety packaging for all liquid nicotine containers, which are used to refill e-cigarettes.
Child-resistant packaging is already required for many household products, including over-the-counter medicines and cleaning agents, but there is no such requirement for liquid nicotine containers. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, local poison control centers received almost 4,000 calls related to liquid nicotine exposure in 2014. On December 9, 2014, a child from Fort Plain, New York, died after accidentally ingesting liquid nicotine.
“As a mother of three children, I am extremely concerned by the alarming rise of liquid nicotine poisonings, particularly among young children. Flavors like tropical fruit and bubblegum tempt children to taste it, which, as we have seen, can be fatal. While we require child-safety caps for medicine and household cleaners, the federal government has failed to respond to the dangers of liquid nicotine poisoning—including the tragic death of a child late last year. Today, I’m introducing the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act because it’s time to act to protect our children,” said Congresswoman Esty.
“If a child comes in contact with liquid nicotine, whether it be through ingestion or mere skin contact, the health consequences can be severe and even lethal,” said American Academy of Pediatrics President Sandra G. Hassink, MD, FAAP. “We cannot afford to wait any longer to protect children from potentially deadly nicotine ingestions. The Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act is a much-needed step forward to prevent future death and illness caused by liquid nicotine, and pediatricians are urging Congress for its immediate passage. One more small child exposed to these life-threatening products is one too many.”
National Poison Prevention Week (March 15-21) marks a week-long campaign to raise awareness and help prevent accidental poisonings. Connecticut’s Poison Control Center is located at the UCONN Health Center in Farmington, CT, which is in Esty’s congressional district.
The Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act directs the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to require safer, child-resistant packaging for liquid nicotine products. Representatives Katherine Clark (MA-5), Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), Ted Deutch (FL-21), Mike Honda (CA-17), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Doris Matsui (CA-6), Louise Slaughter (NY-25), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) joined Esty in introducing her bill.
Esty’s bill is endorsed by the following organizations: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Poison Control Centers, American Association for Respiratory Care, American College of Cardiology, American College of Physicians, American College of Preventive Medicine, American Public Health Association, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, First Focus Campaign for Children, Kids in Danger, March of Dimes, National Association of County and City Health, Partnership for Prevention, Public Citizen, and U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
In January 2015, Esty introduced the Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising, H.R. 478, which would prohibit the advertising and marketing of e-cigarettes to children.