Liquid nicotine must now be sold in child-proof bottles thanks to a new federal law. The Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act expands a patchwork of laws in more than a dozen states in an effort to protect children from a new and somewhat unlikely poisoning threat.
Law tries to counter the appeal of kid-friendly flavorings
Liquid nicotine is commonly used in e-cigarettes and other vape devices, which represent a nearly $3 billion industry in the United States. Under the new law, liquid nicotine manufacturers will have six months to comply with the call for child-resistant bottles and containers.
The dangers that liquid nicotine can pose to children is well documented. Refill canisters containing liquid nicotine can be particularly appealing to children under 6 years old because of the flavoring chemicals that are used. Common flavorings include cotton candy, Fruit Squirts and cupcakes — all geared to appeal to young taste buds.
That’s led to more than 3,000 documented instances of poisoning when kids get their hands on the canister’s contents, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. In one case, a 1-year-old boy died after ingesting liquid nicotine.
To make matters worse, a group of Havard scientists have also found the flavoring chemicals used in many liquid nicotines contain the same compound — diacetyl — that’s responsible for the infamous ‘popcorn lung’ syndrome.
For those who aren’t familiar, popcorn lung became a major story around 2000 when workers at a Missouri factory developed an irreversible respiratory condition after being repeatedly exposed to artificial butter flavoring used for microwave popcorn.
How e-cigs use liquid nicotine
According to Consumer Reports, ‘A typical battery-operated e-cigarette contains a cartridge of e-cig liquid, or ‘juice,’ which usually contains nicotine and the chemical propylene glycol.’ E-cigs also come in a variety of flavors. The way an e-cig works is the battery operates an atomizer that vaporizes the liquid for the user to inhale.
While the basics are typically consistent, the ingredients in different types of e-cigs can vary, which is part of the reason why the Food and Drug Administration, responsible for regulating conventional cigarettes, has encouraged tighter regulations for the e-cig industry.
The juice inside an e-cig is what contains nicotine — with the amounts varying from zero to 72 milligrams per milliliter of liquid — depending on the product. A traditional cigarette has about 10 to 15 milligrams of nicotine.
“Nicotine has short-term negative health effects, like increasing your heart rate and blood pressure, so it can aggravate heart conditions,” says Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser. “It also interferes with fetal development, making it unsafe in pregnancy regardless of its source.”
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