October 7, 2019 / 5:04 PM / 16 days ago

Democrat lawmaker introduces bill to cap nicotine content in vapes

FILE PHOTO: Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) arrives for a private deposition before the House Judiciary and House Government and Oversight committees by former FBI Director James Comey on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 7, 2018.REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

(Reuters) - A U.S. lawmaker on Monday introduced a bill that seeks to regulate e-cigarette makers by capping the amount of nicotine in the vapes they manufacture to make them less addictive.

The bill, introduced by Illinois Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, is the latest effort by lawmakers to clamp down on e-cigarette use, given a spike in underage vaping.

The bill seeks to stymie use of e-cigarettes among youth by allowing e-liquids, solutions of nicotine and other chemical compounds that are heated and inhaled by users to contain no more than 20 milligrams per milliliter of nicotine.

It would also allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to lower this cap and give the agency the flexibility to regulate the design and function of e-cigarettes.

At present, e-cigarettes sold in the United States are not subject to nicotine regulation, in contrast to restrictions placed on the products in the European Union and the UK.

A single 5% Juul pod contains 59 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter of liquid, nearly triple the nicotine concentration in many previous e-cigarettes.

Last month, Democrat Krishnamoorthi and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin formed a bipartisan caucus to combat the “epidemic” of youth vaping, along with Republican Representative Peter King and others.

The lawmakers cited health experts who say flavors like mint from popular e-cigarette companies like Juul Labs Inc have caused the surge in youth vaping.

Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru and Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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