The problem is that a lethal dose of nicotine for children is 10 mg and one of those cartridges contains 500 to over 1000 mg.
In our follow-up thank you to the committee members who had voted against the measure we endeavored to correct the misinformation that came out during the hearing. Regarding this particular statement we wrote:
This is false. Cartridges contain nicotine that has been purified (pharmaceutical grade), not “pure nicotine.” A cartridge contains no more than one gram (1000 mg) of a liquid solution of water, propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin, flavoring, and (optionally) nicotine. The “high dose” cartridges typically contain less than 2% nicotine (20 mg.)
We received a response:
In that statement I was referring to the refill containers that are used to refill the cartridges in the e-cigarettes. The information I gave in the committee hearing is correct for the refill containers. The containers do not have child-proof caps and come in candy flavors. This bill would ban those.
The text below is the reply from one of the CASAA Board Members.
I thank you for opening a dialog on these issues.
We are in agreement that nicotine is poisonous and should be kept out of reach of small children.
The information you gave the committee is not necessarily correct for containers of refill liquid. The total quantity of nicotine in a refill bottle depends on two factors: 1) what percent of the solution is nicotine and 2) the size of the bottle. Given the 2% figure that I mentioned in my email, you would need a 50 ml bottle of refill liquid to reach a total of 1,000 mg of nicotine (1000 divided by 20). That’s well above average size for a refill bottle. If the bottle contains zero-nicotine liquid, there would be zero mg of nicotine, regardless of how large the bottle is.
However, a discussion of how much of a toxic chemical is in a container is beside the point. Most households contain many different products that are poisonous – bleach, nail polish remover, aspirin, drain cleaner, children’s cough medicine, mouthwash – to name a few. Should legislation be passed to ban all poisonous substances? Or should parents be expected to keep all poisons out of reach of children and pets?
Most toddlers can’t read, therefore catchy flavor names would be lost on them. Many of the substances that poison children are rather unpleasant tasting.
As my colleague Kristin pointed out, many smokers who switched to electronic cigarettes have lost their taste for tobacco smoke. It is very likely that the more pleasant flavors assist in the process of extinguishing a taste for smoke. Many smokers who quit by using other methods report that they still have cravings to smoke, even years later. We who quit smoking by switching to a reduced-harm product are experiencing no cravings to smoke. This is an important point, so I am going to repeat it: We have no cravings to smoke! Thus, when a famous Pediatrician announces that kids will begin using e-cigarettes and then “graduate” to smoking, we find the idea ludicrous.
There is zero evidence that pleasant flavors are enticing young people to take up nicotine use via e-cigarettes. If pleasant flavors are what they are after, they can get those without nicotine in an e-cigarette. Better yet, they can buy real candy, real cookies, real bubble-gum or some other food source of pleasant flavors. Those products will cost a lot less than an electronic cigarette.
There is zero evidence that—for whatever reason—any significant number of young people are buying these products. I’m attaching a copy of the CASAA Position Statement on Electronic Cigarettes. It contains some statistics on the age and smoking experience of consumers, substantiated by references. I’m also attaching a copy of the CASAA document, “8 Biggest Electronic Cigarette Myths”. It provides a more detailed explanation of some of the points discussed here.
These products are working for people who had lost all hope of ever being able to quit smoking. I’m 65. I smoked for 45 of those years and tried the patch, gum, lozenges, prescription nicotine inhaler, counseling, hypnosis, Nicotine Anonymous, and prescription smoking cessation drugs. When treatment stopped, relapse began. I didn’t just try these products once. I tried over and over, even using different combinations. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result, then I must have been insane.
On March 27, I will have been smoke-free for two years. To me, that’s the answer to a prayer—quite literally.
There are now hundreds of thousands of former smokers like me who did everything we were told to do and could not quit. We have finally found something that works. Then along come the groups that are supposed to be in favor of smoking cessation—health departments across the country, US Health and Human Services agencies, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, WHO, and the AMA—and all of them want to ban outright the product that finally, at long last, worked for us. And when that doesn’t work, they want to make the products less effective by such actions as banning pleasant-tasting flavors. It boggles our minds.
What we really find insulting is when these organizations tell us that we should try the “safe and effective” smoking cessation methods. What they seem to be saying is “We want you to go back to beating your head against the wall.”
Again, I greatly appreciate that you are willing to discuss these issues. If you have additional questions or would like to discuss anything related to improving smoking cessation rates, I am including my mobile phone number.
The two documents mentioned above can be downloaded from the CASAA web site:
CASAA Position Statement on Electronic Cigarettes
8 Biggest Electronic Cigarette Myths