US Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi has announced legislation that would cap the concentration of nicotine in e-cigarette products, reports Michael Nedelman for CNN. The newly introduced bill would restrict nicotine content to no more than 20 milligrams per millilitre “to make them significantly less addictive and appealing to youth”, according to a 7 October announcement from Krishnamoorthi’s office.
The move mirrors regulations in places like the European Union, which imposes the same cap of 20 milligrams per millilitre.
In the United States, where no national cap exists, some brands contain several times that – including 59 mg/ml in a 5% Juul pod. Juul has maintained that a 5% pod is designed to replace one pack of cigarettes in terms of the number of puffs and the nicotine strength. CNN reached out to Juul for comment.
Under the legislation, the US Food and Drug Administration would also be able to lower the cap further if necessary.
Experts say that high nicotine concentrations have played a role in what they describe as an epidemic of vaping among youth. In September, the FDA revealed that 27.5% of high school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2019 – up from 20.8% in 2018 and 11.7% in 2017.
“As a concerned parent, I am committed to preventing a new generation of nicotine addicts," Krishnamoorthi, a Democratic who has been at helm of a congressional investigation into youth vaping, said in a statement. “Capping the concentration of nicotine in e-cigarettes is integral to ending the youth vaping epidemic by making these products less addictive, less appealing to youth, and less harmful to public health.
“After all, while flavours hook kids, it's nicotine that nets them and pulls them on the boat into a lifelong vaping habit and addiction.”
Experts say that nicotine concentrations have risen in recent years – in part with the advent of ‘nicotine salts’ that mask nicotine's naturally unpleasant taste by combining the basic chemical with an organic acid.
The new legislation comes amid growing action by states such as Michigan, Washington and Massachusetts against sales of e-cigarette flavors and vaping products more broadly.
Full report on the CNN site