Government Moving to Regulate Fast-Growing Liquid Nicotine Industry

Legislation proposed at both the state and federal level aims to curtail marketing and sale to minors, while a new report on the potential toxicity of the liquid leads to calls for the FDA to step in, too.

An e-cigarette. Credit: Contributed Photo
An e-cigarette. Credit: Contributed Photo

The rapid rise of what has become a billion dollar industry — and one that some toxicologists say poses a significant risk to public health — has lawmakers at all levels of government scrambling to add accountability to the unregulated sale of liquid nicotine for e-cigarettes.

A report published Sunday by The New York Times offers insight into liquid nicotine's far-reaching impacts in the U.S. And it has prompted renewed calls for regulation, including from U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

“Exploding use — misuse and abuse — of liquid nicotine make federal regulation even more vital to stop poisoning and other public health hazards," Blumenthal said. "E-liquids are the new snake oil of cigarette marketing – with purity and potency varying widely, and no safeguards. The FDA must act immediately to forestall imminent public health threats from e-cigarettes and toxic nicotine e-liquids.”

The Times article referenced statistics that showed the number of cases of children being poisoned by liquid nicotine is on the rise. The rate at which youngsters are trying e-cigarettes is also climbing.

"A study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics reported that 3.3 percent of 6th to 12th graders said they’d tried e-cigarettes in 2011. In 2012 the number more than doubled, to 6.8 percent," according to a report published by Business Week.

The Business Week article highlighted a bill proposed by U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Protecting Children From Electronic Cigarette Advertising Act of 2014.

Meanwhile, many states have already started to take action. More than two dozen have enacted legislation that prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes and other related devices to minors.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wants his state to become the next. 

Malloy has proposed Senate Bill No. 24, An Act Concerning the Governor’s Recommendations Regarding Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems and Youth Smoking Prevention, which would, among other things, ban the sale of e-cigarettes, electronic nicotine delivery systems, and other vapor products to minors under the age of 18.

The bill cleared its first legislative hurdle earlier this month when the General Assembly’s Committee on Children unanimously approved it. The bill has since been referred to the Office of Legislative Research and the Office of Fiscal Analysis. Read the full text of the proposed law.

According to the website VaporSearchUSA.com, there are 17 stores that sell e-cigarettes in Connecticut. All of them list "e-liquid" nicotine as a product they carry. The website also maintains a database of vendors for all 50 states.

“It is sold all over the place. It is ubiquitous in society,” Lee Cantrell, director of the San Diego division of the California Poison Control System and a professor of pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco, told The Times.

At least one liquid nicotine distributor told The Times they welcome some regulation.

Read the full NYT article on their website.

Jane Maher March 26, 2014 at 11:59 AM
I see that this thread has, of course, turned to hate. I have had the pleasure to work with Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Columbian women and they are incredible, hard working women. Have any of you really lost a job, or had your lifestyle threatened by an illegal alien? And aren't we all decendants of immigrants? (unless you are of Native American desent). These people are the ones that do the crap work that "we" won't do: work 20 hr days on our factory farms picking produce for way below minimum wage, work in filthy meat packing plants using the kill guns on cows, and pigs, gutting them and cleaning out the feces and blood, hanging the heavy carcasses, dumping intestines, hearts, lungs, heads, on conveyor belts for processing. These people are the ones that clean your toilet in your hotel room, work in 100 degree kitchens chopping hundreds of pounds of potatoes, carrots for your soup, washing dishes, taking care of lawns, children, homes throughout the country all under the radar. This is the reason that no legislation had been enacted. We need these workers. The fact that they are paid sh*t wages and have no insurance is our fault, not theirs.
Donna Tietjen March 26, 2014 at 07:58 PM
People start off talking about the posted news article only to rant on about other things because they are passionate of government involvement getting in the way or not. That then. Leads to other things they are upset with. About e-cigarettes, I started using them 6 months ago to try to quit smoking, and after 4 months have gotten off the nicotine for the past 2. Haven't smoked a real
Donna Tietjen March 26, 2014 at 08:08 PM
Cigarette in the 6 months. In the store that I get my supplies is a sign in plain sight, not sold to anyone under 18 years old. Do kids get into them probably, but they can get real cigarettes any time also. If there is some regulation put on them to protect consumers from toxins, so be it, but if they find no toxins then they need to leave this enterprise alone. After all they now have or want to have medical marijuana, and is this completely regulated and safe? The state gets its sales tax from the sale.
Catherine & Dennis April 03, 2014 at 10:18 PM
Let's regulate what we all have to ingest -our food. The FDA either needs to keep all of the crap out of it or do away with the FDA and save us all on the tax for their existence. How about actually testing the drugs people are taking that have been reported to have not one active ingredient in it to help with the medical issue it was prescribed for yet the drug industry charges you out the wazoo for it. I don't agree with making it easy for kids to buy e-cigs but if the lite up a subway roll they could probably get the same high


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