Stores in Suffolk County have 90 days to post warnings about the dangers of liquid nicotine under a law signed Monday by County Executive Steve Bellone.
The signs warn that liquid nicotine used in electronic cigarettes can be fatal and is addictive. They will have to be posted "in a conspicuous place at the register" at retailers where liquid nicotine is sold.
Legis. Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) sponsored the bill, citing increased calls to poison control centers and the death of an 18-month-old boy upstate last year. Liquid nicotine has become popular with vaping -- inhaling vapor from an electronic cigarette -- as an alternative to smoking. It is unregulated by the federal Food and Drug Administration.
"It's imperative we do everything in our power to prevent another tragic death from liquid nicotine," Anker said.
Bellone, holding a container of red strawberry-flavored liquid nicotine, said, "You can see these are products that would obviously be attractive to small children."
Gas station retailers opposed the bill because they said the signs would take up valuable space near registers and put a burden on their businesses. Retailers last year unsuccessfully fought a county law that increased the age to purchase tobacco products to 21 from 18.
The liquid nicotine sign law goes into effect in 90 days.
The law includes a civil penalty of $250 for the first violation, $500 for the second and $1,000 for subsequent violations. The county health department will enforce the law through complaints and as part of its other inspections.
The sign, to be downloaded from the county's website, states "KEEP OUT OF CHILDREN'S REACH" and "INGESTION OF LIQUID NICOTINE MAY BE FATAL" among other warnings.