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Pediatricians Applaud Senate Passage of the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015

12/11/2015
Washington, DC— Yesterday evening, the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015 (S. 142) by unanimous consent, sending the bill to the U.S. House of Representatives for final passage before heading to President Obama for his signature into law. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has been leading efforts to pass the legislation from its initial introduction and welcomes this important step forward in the process.

“Every child deserves a safe home environment, and the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015 helps to provide just that,” said AAP President Sandra G. Hassink, MD, FAAP. “With e-cigarettes becoming more and more common in households across the country, we cannot afford to wait another day to protect children from poisonous liquid nicotine. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) deserve special recognition for their leadership in moving this bill forward in the Senate. We look forward to the House approving the legislation and sending it to the President for signature into law as soon as possible.”

Liquid nicotine, used to refill e-cigarettes, is a highly toxic substance when ingested or absorbed through the skin; as little as half a teaspoon can be fatal if ingested by an average sized toddler. In 2014, poison control centers received more than 3,000 calls related to e-cigarette and liquid nicotine exposure, and one toddler died.

Even though it comes in a variety of colors and flavors that appeal to children, liquid nicotine is not required to have the child-resistant packaging found on common household products like cleaning supplies and prescription drugs. The Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015 addresses this discrepancy by requiring liquid nicotine containers to be sold in child-resistant packaging consistent with U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards within six months.

The bill also preserves the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to regulate the packaging of tobacco products. The AAP supports the agency’s efforts to expand its jurisdiction to include e-cigarettes, liquid nicotine, and all other tobacco products. In July, the FDA signaled its intent to develop regulations on nicotine exposure warnings and child-resistant packaging for tobacco products, including liquid nicotine. Given the narrow scope of the Child Nicotine Poisoning Act of 2015, FDA action is needed to ensure that children are protected from all poisoning risks related to all tobacco products.

“Pediatricians have been advocating at every step of the way to protect children from liquid nicotine poisoning, and yesterday’s action is a historic step forward to keep our children safe where they live, learn and play,” said Dr. Hassink. “This bill is evidence of Congress’ bipartisan commitment to protect children from an increasingly ubiquitous and dangerous product.”
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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.

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