On Thursday, February 26, the Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved legislation requiring e–cigarette manufacturers to create child-resistant packaging for all liquid nicotine containers.
Subsequent to the death of a toddler in upstate New York from ingestion of liquid nicotine from an e-cigarette, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), author of the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act (S. 142), pushed for Committee consideration of the bill.
S. 142 directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to promulgate a rule requiring liquid nicotine containers to be designed with special packaging that is difficult for children under five years of age to open.
A similar bill passed the Committee last year, but was never subject to floor consideration. The bill enjoys bipartisan support, with Republican co-sponsors like Sen. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), and Senator Nelson is hopeful that the measure will pass this Congress.
According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, a single teaspoon of liquid nicotine can result in vomiting or seizures, and is potentially fatal to small children.
Lobbyit is in touch with Senator Nelson’s office concerning prospects for the bill, and is convening meetings with key members in the House of Representatives to determine the outlook in the lower chamber.
Dr. Vivek Murthy, the recently-confirmed US Surgeon General, stated Tuesday that public health officials are "in desperate need of clarity" on electronic cigarettes to help guide policies.
"There have been theories and ideas around the fact that e-cigarettes may be helpful from a harm reduction perspective in helping people who are already on cigarettes (that) have had trouble quitting actually get off cigarettes," Murthy said. "If the data indeed bears that out, then I think we should absolutely embrace that and use e-cigarettes in targeted ways."
However, Murthy said there are many unanswered questions about their health impacts -- specifically their contents -- and if they are ultimately a gateway to traditional smoking, especially considering the rapid growth in use of e-cigarettes among both adults and children.
"I'm concerned about e-cigarettes, and I think this is an area where we are in desperate need of clarity," Murthy said. "I think it's important for us to understand the impact, particularly on youth, before we allow the full-fledged spread of these e-cigarettes and then later have problems that we have to deal with."
Last April, the Food and Drug Administration proposed regulations for e-cigarettes, including banning sales to minors and requiring health warning labels, as well as approving “new” products. The agency has said its proposal sets a foundation for regulating the products, but the rules wouldn't immediately ban the wide array of flavors or styles of e-cigarettes or curb marketing on places like TV.
Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommended that airlines prohibit passengers from carrying e-cigarettes in checked bags, citing recent incidents where the devices are believed to have caused fires in cargo holds or in baggage areas. The voluntary safety bulletin cites two incidents — one in August, where an e-cigarette in a checked bag caught fire and forced a plane to be evacuated; and another in January where a bag in a baggage area caught fire due to an overheated e-cigarette. The bulletin can be found here: usa.gov/15xYwnv
These incidents and several others occurring outside of air transportation have shown that e-cigarettes can overheat and cause fires when the heating element is accidentally activated or left on. This danger may be exacerbated by the growing trend of users modifying and rebuilding their reusable e-cigarette devices (personal vaporizers) and interchanging original and aftermarket batteries, heating elements, and vaporizing components,” the bulletin reads. ICAO also recommends that e-cigarettes not be checked, but rather carried in the cabin — the reasoning is that if an e-cigarette begins to overheat inside the cabin, “it can be immediately identified and mitigated.
This morning, the FDA Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) noticed the opening of a public docket, in conjunction with its public workshops, for research and scientific data on e-cigarettes. https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-28261
The focus of the first workshop is product science (specifically device designs and characteristics, and e-liquid and aerosol constituents), product packaging, constituent labeling, and environmental impact. This workshop takes place Dec 10/11.
Questions the FDA seeks input on are as follows:
Two additional e-cigarette workshops; one on individual health effects and one on population health effects, will follow (dates and time TBD).
It isn’t necessary to attend any of these workshops to contribute data and comment to the public record. Archived copies of the webcasts will be located at the CTP website. http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/NewsEvents/ucm414814.htm While pre-registration is required to attend the workshops or view them live via webcast, non-registered entities can possibly view the webcast at the site, but if capacity is reached, non-registered viewers will be disconnected from the transmission,
The opening of this public docket presents a good opportunity for members of the TVECA community to package and present appropriate information to the CTP. TVECA members are encouraged to comment.
The comment period is open for 130 days, or until April 15, 2015.
The link for the submission of comments will be announced in the Federal Register notice the morning of the first workshop.
Stay tuned for information on where to submit comments!