After disturbing reports started circulating about the potential dangers of the liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes (the Times wrote that “Tiny amounts, whether ingested or absorbed through the skin, can cause vomiting and seizures and even be lethal”), one state senator from Long Island has introduced a bill that would ban the liquids altogether.
State Sen. Kemp Hannon, who had previously proposed an outright ban on e-cigarettes (as opposed to just the liquids), has said, “I know this bill will make some people angry,” adding, “The potential for misuse of e-liquids is real. This is another problem that’s out there in the market. It didn’t even exist as a commercial product initially.”
Hannon cites the same research as the Times as a reason for a ban, as well as concerns that smokers who swap regular cigarettes for electronic ones don’t actually cut down their nicotine intake by much, and may also be at risk for contact with additives like diethylene glycol, “a chemical used in antifreeze” that investigators have found in some brands of e-cigarettes. This, in addition to potentially dangerous exposure to liquid nicotine, which is often sold in vials for re-filling.
Of course, people introduce bills all the time just to make a point or raise awareness of an issue, and it doesn’t seem too likely that Hannon’s legislature will actually be signed into law any time soon. But with the e-cigarette industry still wildly popular and largely un-regulated, it’s easy enough to agree with him on at least one point: “Forms of liquid nicotine need to be reviewed and scrutinized.”
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.