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SILVER SPRING, Md. — Top law officials in a majority of states are pushing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require nicotine e-liquids to carry warning labels.
Thirty-three attorneys general sent a letter to the agency on Tuesday urging regulators to action in a bid to stop the liquid nicotine poisoning among children.
Specifically, the letter asks the FDA to require appropriate warning labels on liquid nicotine, nicotine-containing e-liquids and novel tobacco products such as dissolvables, lotions, gels and drinks.
The attorneys general also urge the FDA adopt or establish standards for child-resistant packaging for liquid nicotine and novel tobacco products.
"As more and more Americans — especially young people — take up e-cigarettes, it is more important than ever that the FDA ensures our children are protected from the dangers of liquid nicotine," said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. "Child-resistant packaging and health warnings are an essential step to keeping these potentially lethal toxins out of the hands of our children. The FDA must step up and regulate the sale and packaging of these dangerous products before any more kids are harmed."
The letter cites a recent study that found 87 percent of adult respondents supported FDA requirements for child-resistant packaging for all e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine refills.
In addition, according to the letter, there were 3,783 reported exposures to liquid nicotine, just over half of which involved a child under the age of six, in 2014. Compared to the number of liquid nicotine exposures in 2012, these 2014 figures represent a more than an 800-percent increase in such exposures. As of June 30, there were 1,732 reported cases of liquid nicotine exposures this year.
"Unfortunately, for children, e-cigarettes now account for roughly 25 percent of nicotine exposures, while in other age groups, e-cigarettes exposures have surpassed other tobacco products and account for as many as 65 percent of exposures," the letter stated.
In January, New York passed legislation requiring that liquid nicotine be sold in child-proof packaging. In July, following an investigation, Schneiderman announced agreements with four e-liquid manufacturers and retailers whose product was being sold in New York in violation of the new legislation.
The attorneys general push comes as the FDA closes the public comment period on an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on Nicotine Exposure Warnings and Child-Resistant Packaging for Liquid Nicotine, Nicotine-Containing E-Liquid(s) and Other Tobacco Products.
As CSNews Online previously reported, the agency is seeking comments, data, research and/or other information related to nicotine exposure warnings and child-resistant packaging for liquid nicotine, nicotine-containing e-liquid(s) and potentially for other tobacco products including but not limited to novel tobacco products such as dissolvables, lotions, gels and drinks.
If the agency decides to issue a rule, the first step in the process is to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register, which gives the public an opportunity to comment on the proposal.
Tuesday's letter to the FDA was signed by attorneys general of the following states, territories and District of Colubmia: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Washington, and Wyoming.