Data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) show that over 3,700 children were exposed to liquid nicotine in 2014, a significant rise from 1,543 in 2013.
Ingestion of the toxic liquid has already claimed one life. An 18 month old toddler in New York died after accidentally drinking liquid nicotine.
With the increasing incidence of liquid nicotine poisoning in children who were mostly below 6 years old, attorneys general of 33 states in the U.S. urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take action.
In a letter dated Sept. 29, the attorneys general asked the FDA to ensure that health warning labels are placed on liquid nicotine-containing products and other novel tobacco products such as gels, drinks, dissolvables and lotions.
New York's Eric Schneiderman said that as a growing number of people in the U.S. use e-cigarettes, it is crucial that the FDA ensures that children are protected from the potential dangers of liquid nicotine. The fluid is used in e-cigarettes which become increasingly popular.
Use of e-cigarettes among middle and high school U.S students has increased three times from 2013 to 2014, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show. A Reuters/Ipsos poll likewise showed that around 10 percent of adults in the U.S. use the vaping device.
A single teaspoon of this toxic liquid can be deadly to a child. Even in smaller amounts, ingesting the fluid can lead to severe illness, which include convulsion, decreased blood pressure and loss of ability to breathe that would generally require trips to the emergency room.
"Child-resistant packaging and health warnings are an essential step to keeping these potentially lethal toxins out of the hands of our children," Schneiderman said in a statement. "The FDA must step up and regulate the sale and packaging of these dangerous products before any more kids are harmed."
Three months ago, four manufacturers of liquid nicotine in New York were fined over the use of packaging that children can easily open, a violation of a law enacted in 2014. The legislation requires that all liquid nicotine be sold in bottles that are more difficult for children to open.
The attorneys general said that the growing popularity of vaping devices, which require refilling with liquid nicotine, warrants FDA regulations. Without such rules, the threats posed by nicotine exposure will rise.
The letter also cited a survey wherein 87 percent of adult respondents support FDA requirements for childproof packaging for all e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine refills.
Photo: Lindsay Fox | Flickr