Legislation to help keep e-cig liquid away from children passed by Congress

Legislation to help keep e-cig liquid away from children passed by Congress
Troy LeBlanc (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Troy LeBlanc (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Dr. George Bosse (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Dr. George Bosse (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Martin Bos (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Martin Bos (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Electronic cigarette stores are lighting up all over WAVE Country. It's a booming business and now there is a push to make the product safer around children.

Congress has passed legislation to require child-resistant packaging for the liquid that gives e-cigs both their kick and flavor. The bill is awaiting the president's signature.

Nicotine is addictive for adults, but can be deadly for children. A 1-year-old boy from Fort Plain, N.Y. died after drinking e-cigarette liquid in 2014. Many e-cigarette liquids are flavored like candy, making them tempting to small kids.

[MORE: Hoverboard injuries keeping local doctors busy]

But, there is no confusion about who can vape in Troy LeBlanc's store, Derb E Cigs.

"It hits you in the face before you walk in the door, 18 plus," LeBlanc said.

LeBlanc has been in the e-cig business for two and a half years and operates five stores in the area. LeBlanc said the reason his business is growing is e-cigs are a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes and often times helps people to quit smoking. LeBlanc is also the co-founder for The Kentucky Smoke Free Association, which backs vaping rights in Kentucky, which is supportive of the bill to require childproof packaging for e-cigs. He said their product is not meant for children.

"We are here to help people we aren't here to hurt them," LeBlanc said.

LeBlanc has already taken steps to keep the liquid nicotine out of the hands of children, he only sells liquid nicotine in childproof packaging.

"Everything is going to have child safe packaging," LeBlanc said. "You push it down just like you would see on medicine. We're finding that we need to police ourselves."

The Kentucky Regional Poison Control Center said the legislation is common sense. They've dealt with a number of calls related to liquid nicotine.

"In 2015 we had about 130 cases, majority of those were children under 18, but there are still a fair number of adults," Dr. George Bosse, of the Kentucky Regional Poison Control Center, said. "Eighty-five percent are what we call ingestion, where it was swallowed."

The warning on the bottle may be in fine print but, the message to Martin Bos's children is loud and clear.

"I literally tell them the truth," Bos said. "This is my e-cigarette and it's not for kids."

Bos has three children, the youngest is two. He said he avoids vaping around his children and keeps the liquid nicotine out of their reach.

"It's sort of a no brainer to put the packaging on it," Bos said.

Some of the side effects of ingesting liquid nicotine are nausea, vomiting, agitation, confusion and even seizures.

If you or your child swallows the liquid nicotine call the American Association of Poison Control Centers 1 (800) 222-1222.

For more information on the Kentucky Smoke Free Association, click here.

Copyright 2016 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.