Electronic Cigarette Refill Liquids: Child-Resistant Packaging, Nicotine Content, and Sales to Minors

Kelly Buettner-Schmidt, Donald R. Miller, Narayanaganesh Balasubramanian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the accuracy of the labeled quantity of the nicotine content of the e-liquids sold in unlicensed vape stores, whether the packaging of e-liquids sold within the vape stores was child-resistant, whether minors were present within vape stores, and whether sales to minors occurred. This study was conducted across North Dakota prior to implementation of a new e-cigarette state law and provided a baseline assessment before enactment of the new legal requirements. Design and Methods: We tested samples of e-liquids and performed observations in 16 stores that were selling e-cigarettes but were not legally required to be licensed for tobacco retail. The e-liquids were analyzed for nicotine content using a validated high-performance liquid chromatography method for nicotine analysis. Results: Of the 70 collected e-liquid samples that claimed to contain nicotine, 17% contained more than the labeled quantity and 34% contained less than the labeled quantity by 10% or more, with one sample containing 172% more than the labeled quantity. Of the 94 e-liquid containers sampled, only 35% were determined to be child-resistant. Minors were present in stores, although no sales to minors occurred. Conclusions: Mislabeling of nicotine in e-liquids is common and exposes the user to the harmful effects of nicotine. The lack of child-resistant packaging for this potentially toxic substance is a serious public health problem. E-cigarettes should be included in the legal definition of tobacco products, child-resistant packaging and nicotine labeling laws should be enacted and strictly enforced, and vape stores should be licensed by states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-379
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of pediatric nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Child safety
  • E-cigarette
  • Nicotine
  • Product packaging
  • Public policy
  • Regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics

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