Safety Commission Poised for New Authority over Certain Nicotine Products  

Six months, or 180 days. That’s how long manufacturers and importers of liquid nicotine refill containers have to comply with the new law – or answer to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Known as the “Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act,” the new law was signed Jan. 28, mandating child-resistant packaging for certain liquid nicotine products.

The CPSC is the same entity behind the enforcement of child-resistant packaging on prescription drugs, select over-the-counter medications, cleaning chemicals and other potentially hazardous substances found around the home.

Where the New Law Applies

The Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention act specifically applies to what are being called “liquid nicotine containers” that meet certain criteria. The definition extends to include any package that:

  • Holds nicotine in a solution or other form
  • Allows access to the contents if used by a consumer in a customary and normal manner
  • Holds soluble nicotine in any concentration

The definition clearly applies to vaping liquid that contains nicotine and is designated for use in open-system electronic vaping devices. Open-system vaping devices refer to those in which vaping liquid can be freely added and the devices taken apart to do so.

The law does not, however, cover every type of nicotine or vaping liquid on the market.

Where the New Law Doesn’t Apply

Two important exceptions to the new law should be noted. A rapidly growing vaping segment is opting for vaping liquid that contains zero nicotine. Vaping liquids with zero nicotine content are not covered by the new law’s definition.

The definition additionally leaves out closed-system electronic cigarettes, which refer to devices that are not meant to be opened, taken apart or refilled. Such devices typically consist of the disposable e-cigarettes sold at gas stations and convenience stores, also known as “cigalikes.”

To make it clear, special packaging regulations do not apply to:

  • Sealed, pre-filled and disposable nicotine containers
  • Nicotine containers designed to be inserted directly into e-cigs, electronic nicotine delivery systems or similar products
  • Items that don’t allow access to the contents through expected or normal use or handling, which includes “reasonably foreseeable” contact or ingestion by children 

Poison Packaging Prevention Act

The Poison Packaging Prevention Act (PPPA) has been in place since its passage in 1970, and this same act will be governing the child-resistant packaging required for applicable e-liquid nicotine products.

Overseen by the CPSC, the PPPA requires potentially hazardous household chemicals and substances to have packaging that is extremely difficult for children under age 5 to open and access its contents within a reasonable amount of time.

Child-Resistant Testing

Stringent testing procedures have been adopted to ensure packaging meets PPPA requirements. Test subjects must include at least one panel of 50 children as well as a total of 100 adults between the ages of 50 and 70 years old.

Packaging passes muster if at least 80 percent of the children are unable to open the packaging after attempting to do so for 10 minutes – and 90 percent of the adults are able to open it within five minutes. Once adults have figured out how the packaging works, the packaging undergoes another test where adults have one minute to open and then close the packaging, putting its child-resistant features back in place.

Proof of Compliance

Importers and manufacturers of items that require special child-resistant packaging must:

  • Issue certificates of conformity that indicate products adhere to packaging requirements
  • Furnish compliance certificates as need to retailers and distributors
  • Make compliance certificates available to CPSC and US Customs and Border Protection upon request as outlined by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

Widespread Support

In addition to being unanimously approved by the Senate Commission, passed by Congress and signed by the President into law, the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act enjoys widespread support from health organizations, consumer advocates, and the vaping industry. Many states already have child-proof packaging regulations in place, and the new law expands the regulations at the federal level.

Many vaping liquid manufacturers have also already been using child-resistant packaging, which has been a requirement for members of the American E-Liquid Manufacturing Standards Association trade group since 2012.


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