The Andrews Labor Government is calling for national urgent action to protect children across the nation from the potentially deadly liquid used in e-cigarettes.
Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos today pushed for a nationally consistent approach to the packaging and labelling of e-cigarette liquids at the COAG Health Council.
The liquid used in e-cigarettes may or may not contain nicotine. Liquid nicotine is poisonous and can cause serious illness, or even death if ingested, with children and pets being particularly vulnerable.
Reports of poisoning due to liquid from e-cigarettes are on the rise – the Victorian Poisons Information Centre now receives more than 20 calls a year about e-cigarette liquid, and more than 200 cases have been reported across Australia since 2009.
E-liquid products for use in e-cigarettes come in flavours that are attractive to children but are not in childproof packaging. Due to either their size or strength, some refill bottles contain a lethal dose for a young child.
In addition, e-cigarettes and their components and e-liquid capsules present a choking hazard for young children. There have also been reports of explosions from faulty parts and the lithium batteries can be flammable or explosive if used in low quality devices.
Ms Mikakos will lobby her state and federal counterparts to protect our kids by better regulating the packaging and labelling of e-cigarette liquid. In the meantime, the Government is providing Victorians with the information they need to keep their families safe.
We have also taken steps to protect children from e-cigarettes by implementing laws that regulate e-cigarettes in the same way as they regulate tobacco products. That means all existing bans that apply to tobacco products, also apply to e-cigarettes.
In Victoria, it is illegal to sell any e-cigarette device or any e-liquid to a minor. In addition, the retail sale of liquid nicotine is banned in Victoria.
Further information on e-cigarettes is available at betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/e-cigarettes.
If you suspect a child has swallowed nicotine, call the Victorian Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26. If they have collapsed, stopped breathing, are fitting or having an anaphylactic reaction, ring Triple Zero.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos
“We know there have been cases of children becoming severely unwell or dying after swallowing liquid from an e-cigarette and the Commonwealth must act quickly to keep our kids safe.”
“I urge e-cigarette users to be vigilant – make sure your e-cigarette and liquids are out of reach and out of sight from children.”