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Safety Regulator Warns Vape Shops and Other Retailers: Selling Liquid Nicotine without Proper Packaging is Against Federal Law

Release Date: November 22, 2019

Washington, D.C. ---- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is the independent federal agency responsible for enforcing a key provision of the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015 (CNPPA), 15 U.S.C. § 1472a.  That law requires any nicotine provided in a liquid nicotine container sold, offered for sale, manufactured for sale, distributed in commerce, or imported into the United States to be in “special packaging,” as defined by the Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA).  This packaging, in layman’s terms, must be designed to prevent children from accidentally accessing and ingesting liquid nicotine, and must restrict the flow of liquid nicotine under specific conditions.

Delivered in high doses, nicotine can be lethal.  Exposure to liquid nicotine found in e-cigarettes has resulted in thousands of calls to poison control centers in recent years.  Liquid nicotine poisoning can occur in three ways: by ingestion, inhalation, or absorption through the skin or eyes.  For small children, coming into contact with even a small amount of a highly-concentrated liquid nicotine product can be fatal.

As a retailer of liquid nicotine containers, you are also responsible for ensuring that any liquid nicotine product you sell complies with the law.[1]

The CPSC is actively enforcing the requirements of the CNPPA.  The agency wants to ensure that retailers understand the requirements and are selling only containers that comply with the law.  You should check your stock to ensure that the liquid nicotine products you carry are safely packaged for your customers.  If you sell any noncompliant product, you may be subject to legal action for doing so including civil penalties of up to $110,000 for each violation, and $16,025,000 for any related series of violations.  We are particularly concerned about reports that some stores are selling noncompliant products at a large discount, thereby implicitly acknowledging that they know that they are engaged in selling illegal products.  If you have stocks of noncompliant products, you should remove them from inventory, quarantine them, and seek reimbursement from the manufacturer.  If you have concerns or questions about these requirements, call the Consumer Product Safety Commission toll-free hotline (800) 638-2772.

You should help inform consumers about the dangers of liquid nicotine poisoning by reminding customers:

1.  Do not let children handle liquid nicotine containers or e-cigarettes.

2.  Keep liquid nicotine in its original (child-resistant, flow-restricted) packaging, and make sure it is locked up and out of a child’s sight and reach.

3. If a child comes into contact with liquid nicotine through the skin, eyes, or ingestion: immediately call a Poison Control Center at: 1-800-222-1222.


[1] The term “liquid nicotine container” is defined in CNPPA section 2(d)(2).  For more details about these requirements, go to….

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About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

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