E-cigarettes were barely making a blip on the screen five years ago, but today they have become not only widely used, but trendy. The statistics are startling, with many studies suggesting that more teenagers and young adults than ever before are drawn to smoking because of the perceived “cool factor” of e-cigarettes.
But e-cigarettes are dangerous, and not just in the obvious health aspects. E-cigs and other liquid nicotine products have somehow entered the market with very little FDA regulation, leading e-cigarette manufacturers to essentially do as they please. The levels of nicotine in e-cigarettes is often three to four times higher than normal cigarettes, making e-cigs even more likely to cause cancer of the mouth and throat. In addition, based on their use of vaporized liquid, e-cigs have the potential to explode and even catch fire. All of these factors make them incredibly dangerous when in the wrong hands, like a child’s hands.
Over the last few years, there has been significant public outcry trying to convince the government to take more serious measures with safety requirements for e-cigarettes. It has been a long road, but finally it seems that the federal government is cracking down.
Congress acknowledged in January that children are at risk of being poisoned by the nicotine in e-cigarettes, so they acted by passing legislation that requires special child-proof packaging for the specific liquids that provide e-cigarettes with their distinctive flavors and effects. According to one of the Senators who supported the bill, it should be common sense to require child-proof caps on a nicotine product, considering that all pharmaceuticals from Advil to prescriptions require the same level of care.
This legislation is so important because, while nicotine is addictive for adults, it can be toxic for children even if absorbed through the skin. Without the proper packaging safety features, children can severely hurt their entire nervous system or even die, as a one-year-old boy did in New York after drinking the e-cigarette liquid in 2014. Such tragedies are completely preventable with the right packaging.