BALTIMORE, Md: - Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler wrote to ten e-cigarette manufacturers Monday over the rise of children getting sick from e-cigarette products.
Gansler, who is running for governor, wrote the letter after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study found that found a spike in calls to poison control centers nationwide related to the ingestion, inhalation and contact with skin or eyes of highly toxic nicotine liquid from e-cigarette refill cartridges.
More than 50 percent of those calls involve children under the age of five.
This trend appears at the same time that studies show electronic cigarette makers are attempting to increase sales to potential underage users through youth-oriented marketing and flavorings that appeal to children.
Maryland is one of many states and cities that have already banned the sale of e-cigarettes to children under the age of 18. The Food and Drug Administration has proposed a similar age restriction, while some state and local governments are instituting or considering bans on the use of e-cigarettes in public places for health reasons.
Gansler urged stores to to take action to address the issue, by offering the following suggestions:
1. Placing clear and conspicuous warnings on the packaging for e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine cartridges that warn of the dangers of touching or ingesting nicotine. We believe that this is information that is material to consumers, the omission of which would constitute an unfair or deceptive trade practice.
2. Refraining from marketing that appeals to children, including not offering and selling flavors of liquid nicotine that appeal to children. Marketing these products in a manner that makes them attractive to children could also constitute an unfair or deceptive trade practice.
3. Using product designs that prevent inadvertent exposure to liquid nicotine and limit children's ability to access the liquid nicotine.