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CPSC, E-Vapor Commission Debate Over Flow Restrictor Packaging Testing

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Since 2006, packaging containing liquid nicotine have been under guidance from the Child Nicotine Prevention Act (CNPPA). Within the vaping industry, this affects e-liquid containers or bottles and how they can be released to the public. The National Law Review states that these vessels are required “to utilize child-resistant packaging pursuant regulations promulgated under the Poison Packaging Prevention Act (PPPA). Over time, these restrictions have evolved through the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which has released new guidelines and restrictions for this law throughout 2019.

We start off in February, when The National Law Review reports the CPSC interpreted the CNPPA as requiring “‘flow restrictors’ on liquid nicotine containers.” In order to make sure containers passed manufacturer guidelines, testing protocol was published in March by CPSC, followed by issuing Notices of Violations to companies who weren’t in compliance. Most of the companies receiving warnings were those manufacturing glass bottles without the previously mentioned flow restrictors. They were, as The National Law Review notes, holding e-liquids that were now a “‘misbranded hazardous substance’ pursuant to section 2(p) of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA).”

Within the Notices of Violations, the companies rendered noncompliant were ordered to correct the violations, including halting of sales and distribution; notifying retailers and consumers of the errors; and destroying and disposing of returned bottles and remaining inventory.” However, several national and state vapor trade associations, namely the E-Vapor Coalition, rebutted the violations in a letter to CPSC, saying that the interpretation of the new law was “inconsistent with three years of previous guidance from the Commission.” Additionally, the rebuttal letter stated concerns about flow restrictor testing and “potential conflict with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules prohibiting changes to e-liquid packaging without FDA premarket approval.” While the E-Vapor Coalition didn’t argue with the transition to flow packaging, they asked that it be done “in a manner that will not unduly burden manufacturers, distributors and retailers.”

Changes are continuously being brought down by CPSC, and the latest can be found on the Commission’s website via its Liquid Nicotine Packaging Business Guidance.