Since 2015 when the Child Nicotine Poison Prevention Act (CNPPA) was enacted, e-liquid has required to be sold in child-resistant containers. This law, passed under the Obama administration, was widely supported by the vape industry in general, and in fact, most e-liquid manufacturers were already selling vape juice in child-resistant packaging. Basically the law stated that liquid nicotine (aka vape juice or e-liquid) in containers “from which nicotine is accessible through normal and foreseeable use by a consumer” (i.e, vape juice bottles) were required to have child-resistant packaging as a result of the Poison Packaging Prevention Act (PPPA), and “be packaged in accordance with the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC’s) standards and testing procedures for special packaging that is difficult for children under five years of age to open or to obtain harmful contents from.”
The CPSC has revised its packaging requirements a few times to make them more stringent since the law was passed in 2018, when it required secondary dispensing caps also be child-resistant.
But in February 2019, Peter Feldman, Commissioner of the CPSC quietly dropped a bombshell, via Twitter:
“I’m told that as much as 100% of liquid nicotine containers do not comply fully with the requirements of the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act, including the use of flow restrictors. That’s why today I requested @USCPSC issue and enforce an immediate stop sale order.”
Later that day, the CPSC issued a letter stating that the CSPC would be publishing guidance in March for vape juice manufacturers to test restricted flow bottles, which would likely need to be done through a third-party lab. The CSPC issued its guidance on March 8, 2019 without a grace period for the industry to comply, and enforcement was to commence immediately – giving the vape industry – from vape juice manufacturers to vape shops — no time to meet the new standards.
The CPSC informed the vaping industry that in addition to child-resistant closures, vape juice bottles must also have flow restrictors to limit the flow of e-liquid once opened.
What is the CSPC talking about? The flow restriction rule says, restricted flow refers to “special packaging from which the flow of liquid is so restricted that not more than 2 milliliters of the contents can be obtained when the inverted, opened container is taken or squeezed once.”
For those of you following along at home – e-liquid already comes with a child-resistant cap for shipping, and often a secondary child-resistant cap for dispensing, from which to pour the e-liquid into your mod. The new CPSC “restricted flow” bottle tip requirement which would dispense no more than 2 ml at a time would most likely make refilling your tank very, very, very, slow.
Rep Frank Pallone (D-NJ), who you may remember for supporting the part of Trump’s budget plan which would levy $100 million in “user fees” from vapers, then threw fuel on the fire by dramatically stating e-liquid bottles did not follow the “flow restriction” rule, which he demonstrated by holding up a bottle of vape juice and saying, “it can simply be dumped out in an amount that can easily kill a child.”
Of course, the same thing could be said for bleach, spray paint, laundry pods, a carton of cigarettes, or rat poison. Once you take the lid off, an unaccompanied child could drink it. Or eat it. Which is why you should always keep child-proof lids on products that are dangerous for kids to consume.
The CPSC has given the green light for its inspectors to start pulling vape juice products off shelves immediately. And we’re already hearing rumblings from vape shop operators that CPSC inspectors are telling them to clear their shelves or destroy all e-liquids.
So if you have an all day vape that you’re particularly fond of, you might want to go ahead stock up now while you still can – there’s no telling what will happen next, or how it will play out. As of now, nearly all bottles of vape juice are on the endangered species list.
Because this new regulation only affects bottles of e-liquid and not closed-system e-cigarettes and pods such as Juul, we have to wonder… is this another stealth move by Big Tobacco to eliminate all its competitors in the vape industry?
But wait, there’s more. Just in case you happen to be a vape juice manufacturer who has a number of flavored e-liquids with “grandfathered” approval released before August 2016 when the Food and Drug Administration’s e-cigarette deeming rule took effect — if you’re thinking, Hey, no problem, I’ll just add a flow restrictor to my bottle and everything will be awesome, you may be in for a shock. Only e-liquids that have not been modified since August 8, 2016, are allowed to be marketed and sold without premarket approval from the FDA. Changes to e-liquid bottle size and material, for example (ahem, adding a flow restrictor,) could create a “new” product that requires Premarket Tobacco Product Application (PMTA) authorization from the FDA, a costly, confusing, rapidly changing, and time-consuming process. So for an e-liquid that’s been on the market since 2007, just changing the bottle to comply with the brand new CPSC regulations would force otherwise-exempt e-liquid manufacturers into a costly and time-consuming FDA pre-market approval, while the vape juice in question is instantly banned from the market.
Stay tuned to Soupwire for the latest in vaping news and legislation.