Lawmakers call for safety caps on the nicotine refills for electronic cigarettes

A group of Democratic Senators filed legislation asking for safety caps to be required on all liquid nicotine refills for electronic cigarettes.

The number of nicotine poisonings has doubled in the past year as e-cigarettes have grown in popularity.

Many victims are children drawn to the candy smells and flavors, like cotton candy and bubble gum.

High concentrations of nicotine like the ones found in many of the e-cigarettes are highly toxic.

Senator Bill Nelson (D) of Florida sponsored the bill asking that the Consumer Product Safety Commission require the industry to put child-proof caps on all liquid nicotine refills.

He said liquid nicotine is a real threat.

“I hope that we will get it addressed fairly quickly,” he said. “And the Consumer Product Safety Commission, because of the attention being paid to this, ought to start the rule processing anyway without us having to pass legislation. But, this is certainly a way to send them a message to get off their duffs and start doing it.”

It’s a concern the ABC15 Investigators first brought you earlier this year .

Dr. Frank LoVecchio is co-director of the Banner Good Samaritan Poison & Drug Information Center .   

He said they have seen a dramatic increase in calls to Poison Control about e-cigarettes.

“It’s skyrocketed. The refills have us very worried,” he said.

LoVecchio said it is especially true concerning children.

“It seems pretty easy for them to have a couple of drops of the liquid refill and for them to die,” he said.

Large concentrations of the liquid nicotine are toxic. No deaths have been reported due to exposure to it so far.

In 2014 so far, Poison Control at Banner told ABC15 they have seen 29 nicotine exposures from e-cigarettes. About half of them involving very young children. Nationwide, there have been about 1,500.

LoVecchio said children don’t even have to swallow the liquid to get poisoned. “A couple of drops of this stuff on a child's skin can lead to toxicity,” he said.

LoVecchio urges users to make sure the refills and e-cigarettes are out of the reach of children.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission told us they are an agency that stands ready to implement the new law if it’s passed.

The CPSC told ABC15 they take the Poison Prevention Packaging Act very seriously and have been implementing it for decades.

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