(Hartford, CT) –At 11 a.m. Tuesday, August 19 outside the Connecticut Poison Control Center at the UConn Health Center, after a spike in reports of child poisonings caused by ingestion of liquid nicotine, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-5) will call for legislation to require child-proof bottles for liquid nicotine and for further federal regulation of e-cigarettes.

The highly toxic concentrated liquid nicotine is used in e-cigarettes, and is sold nationwide in easy-to-open vials and small eye-dropper bottles. Ingestion of liquid nicotine can cause vomiting and seizures and even death, and a teaspoon of highly diluted liquid nicotine, whether ingested or absorbed through the skin, could kill a small child. 

Nationwide, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there have been more than 1,500 calls regarding liquid nicotine exposure so far this year – a pace that will double last year’s total.  And the 1,351 cases reported last year represented a 300 percent increase from 2012. In Connecticut there have been 18 calls to the Connecticut Poison Control Center since 2011 regarding liquid nicotine.

The Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2014 would direct the Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue rules requiring safer, child-resistant packaging for any liquid nicotine sold to consumers. 

Liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes is a concentrated, deadly poison that--even in very small quantities--can kill a child. Cases of accidental poisonings have skyrocketed over the past year, sending well over one thousand people to emergency rooms nationwide with serious health consequences. Simple, child-proof bottles would go a long way to preventing future tragedy. It’s a basic safety measure that we take for many other substances, from aspirin to Drano, and it is common sense that we would require it here,” Blumenthal said.

With emergency calls to poison control centers skyrocketing, parents need to know that e-cigarettes and the refill liquid nicotine cartridges pose very real dangers to their children. Ingesting or spilling one teaspoon of a 1.8 percent nicotine solution on a child’s skin could potentially be fatal. We’ve seen the devastating impact of liquid nicotine to children, not only in the significant rise of poisonings from liquid nicotine exposure, but also through the increasing number of children hooked on e-cigarettes. Nicotine is a dangerous, highly-addictive drug that should not be sold, marketed, or exposed to children. I’m leading efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives to ban marketing of e-cigarettes to children and increase FDA protections, and I’m proud to join with Senator Blumenthal and continue our call to keep our children safe,” Esty said.

Esty and Blumenthal have also introduced the Protecting Children from Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act to prohibit the advertising of e-cigarettes to children.