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FDA considering warning labels for liquid nicotine

The Food and Drug Administration is calling for public input on warning labels and child-resistant packaging for liquid nicotine packs used in electronic cigarettes and other non-traditional tobacco products.

The agency is to trying to determine whether labeling similar to that used on cigarette packs should be required for non-tobacco products containing nicotine. The agency is also considering child-resistant packaging for products using nicotine liquid.

The FDA said a hike in nicotine poisonings reported by poison control centers and emergency rooms shows rules are needed.

A study released earlier this year, based on data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey and the Centers for Disease Control, found 3.9% of students in grades 6 through 8 were using e-cigarettes -- well above the 2.5% rate for traditional cigarettes.

Among the high school crowd, 13.4% of students reported using e-cigarettes, compared with 9.4% who smoked cigarettes.

In 2009, the FDA gained authority to restrict tobacco advertising to youth, require warning labels, and evaluate new tobacco products for their health risks. But because e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, they were not covered.

An industry group said it doesn't object to child-proof packaging for liquid nicotine products. “Child-resistant packaging is already in use by the vast majority of e-liquid manufacturers,” said Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Assn.

But Conley cautioned: “Poorly designed warning labels have the capacity to mislead adult smokers on the relative risks of vaping versus tobacco smoking.”

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