Last December, an 18-month-old child innocently picked up a liquid nicotine container and swallowed what was inside. He became the first known child in the country to die from liquid nicotine poisoning. As a mom, I can only imagine the pain felt by this child’s parents and loved ones. His death was completely avoidable and could have been prevented had the liquid nicotine container been childproofed. As your Representative, I vow to do all that I can to prevent unnecessary deaths and illnesses in children from liquid nicotine poisoning.
In recent years, Connecticut, like many other states, has seen a sharp rise in the use of e-cigs, vaporizers, tanks, and atomizers. These liquid nicotine delivery devices contain tobacco extracted nicotine, artificial flavors, and other chemicals. They are often wrapped in bright packaging and are sold in flavors like bubble gum and gummy bear, designed to appeal especially to our children.
As a society, we recognize the danger that many hazardous chemicals and drugs pose to children. We require child safety packaging on many substances to prevent unnecessary exposure and accidental poisonings. Unfortunately, there are no packaging-related safety requirements for liquid nicotine. The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) reported receiving 3,783 calls related to liquid nicotine exposure from local poison control centers in 2014, and our own Connecticut Poison Control Center continues to battle a spike in calls. This is unacceptable.
That’s why I joined my Republican colleague Rep. Susan Brooks in introducing a bipartisan bill requiring childproof packaging on liquid nicotine containers. Our bill, the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015, takes a commonsense approach and has broad support on both sides of the aisle.
If you have thoughts about this or any other federal policies that affect you or your family, or if you have any other concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me—all of my priorities are driven by what I hear from you. When you share your concerns and ideas with me, you empower me to continue to work to make sure your needs are addressed in Washington.