Earlier this year, President Obama signed into law the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act, requiring manufacturers of nicotine-enhanced e-liquid to implement child resistant packaging by July 26, 2016. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) will be charged with the federal oversight responsibilities rather than the FDA.
The new packaging requirements will be not required for all pre-filled, sealed, or disposable products. To put this another way, disposable e-cigs are exempt from the new child-proof laws while bottled e-liquid must be in compliance, but only if the e-juice contains nicotine. Fortunately, a majority of the American retailers has already been using a form of child resistant packaging for quite some time, largely due to consumer demand which forced the industry to self-regulate years before Obama and the CPSC became involved.
But what about retailers who stock e-liquids made in other countries? Will foreign brands be exempt from the new regulations? According to the CPSC, even imported brands must comply.
If an American-based vendor has a stockpile of old inventory, foreign or domestic, that lacks the child-proof caps, the product cannot be legally sold until the new packaging system is in place. Some vape shops stand to lose a great deal of money, especially if the related e-liquid manufacturer refuses to recall old product and replace it with new, kid-friendly product.
Not all child resistant packaging may be ‘legal’
As the July 26 deadline approaches, many small business owners are being warned about the very specific wording of the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act regarding the new packaging requirements. Just because the manufacturer advertises its e-juice packaging as child-proof does not necessarily mean that it will meet the very high standards of the CPSC. According to representatives of Keller and Heckman, the Washington D.C. law firm managing the lawsuit filed against the FDA deeming regulations by eleven vaping advocacy groups, the child resistant packaging must meet certain criteria.
“To meet (the new) requirements, 80% of children should not be able to open the special packaging after 10 minutes of attempting to open it. The CPSC has adopted specifically prescribed testing. Additionally, 90% of adults must be able to open the packages. A minimum of one panel of 50 children must be tested, along with 100 adults aged 50 to 70 years old. Manufacturers or importers of products that require special packaging must issue certificates of conformity indicating that their products comply with the special packaging requirements, and must issue/furnish them to distributors and retailers, and make them available to the CPSC or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) upon request, under provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).
While child resistant packaging regulations in the United States have remained relatively unchanged since the 1970s, the recently signed Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act contains new requirements that are more severe. E-liquid retailers and manufacturers are encouraged to consult a packaging expert to ensure that all products are complaint, especially those from foreign vendors. Violation of the new law may result in excessive fines and other penalties.