New law aims to make liquid nicotine containers safer for children

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COLUMBIA - Missouri state officials have taken a step to make liquid nicotine containers safer for children. Governor Jay Nixon signed a bill into law Wednesday afternoon that requires any nicotine liquid container to meet federal child-restraint standards. Missouri is the third state, after Illinois and New York, to have a law like this.

Representative Sheila Solon (R-Blue Springs) originally presented the bill. She said she was in contact with representatives at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, who worked with her to draw up the bill. Solon said she wants to help protect children from the dangers of liquid nicotine. 

One danger of liquid nicotine is that it can be absorbed through the skin. This can lead to health issues for children and, according to Solon, one teaspoon can kill a young child. To highlight the dangers, Solon pointed to the death of a toddler in New York last year after drinking liquid nicotine.

According to Solon's news release, "With flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy, these bottles of liquid nicotine can be very enticing to small children who have no way of knowing these liquids are incredibly dangerous and even deadly." 

Two local smoke shops already have some child-safe bottles, although some older bottles still don't meet the standards. 

"Ours already come sealed and with child-protective lids on them," We B Smokin manager Alec Stanley said.

Aqueous Vapors manager Jared Law said he supports the new law.

"I definitely feel like the bill is in the right place. Sure parents do have some responsibility to keep an eye on their children and make sure not to store these in a place where they can easily get them. However, it definitely is a good measure to add an extra layer of safety," Law said.

Under the law, any person involved in selling containers that violate child-safety provisions will be fined $250 for the first violation and $500 for any violation after that. The law will go into effect August 28, 2015.