A nine-year-old New Brunswick girl was taken to hospital after consuming e-cigarette fluids from a brightly labelled “Unicorn Milk” bottle, her mother says.
Lea L’Hoir is calling on Ottawa to swiftly enact a ban on child-friendly names on such products.
The federal Liberals introduced a law last fall that would prohibit labels that appeal to children or which use fictional animals as an “endorsement,” and the law recently passed third reading before the Senate.
L’Hoir says her daughter and several friends found the purple tube with a rainbow on it in a Fredericton playground on Monday.
She says the image of a pink and purple unicorn led them to believe it was candy and they ingested a few drops.
Her daughter was later taken to hospital suffering stomach pain, dizzy spells and soreness in her chest, before being released and sent home.
L’Hoir says she suffered anxiety and a sleepless night due to her child’s illness and wants assurances a new federal law will prohibit the child-friendly labels and odours.
The regulation before the Senate would also prohibit selling a vaping product that has “an appearance, shape or other sensory attribute or a function for which there are reasonable grounds to believe that it could make the product appealing to young persons.”
The mother said she wishes the law had been in place sooner, and said she hopes Health Canada itself will screen products coming into vape shops and provide explicit lists on which products are prohibited.
Trevor Bostick, the vendor who manufactures and sells the “Unicorn Milk” product at New Beginnings Vape in Fredericton, said he has pulled the product off his shelves and is also eager to see the new law in place.
He says he felt devastated at the news a child had to go to the hospital for treatment.
“It was a terrible feeling … It floored me and I was in shock for the whole day. I hardly slept last night,” he said.
“I don’t want anybody to think it was marketing scheme for children. It’s a very hard market to tap into. There are so many people doing this, and we were just trying to make a more marketable thing.”
“We’ll never make another label with a cartoon label on it.”
Bostick said he’ll be glad to see a clear guideline for standards on how labels can be produced.
A spokesman for Senator Chantal Petitclerc, the sponsor of Bill S-5 in the Senate, says the time period required for the bill’s passing is part of the normal process of reviewing legislation.
Petitclerc said in an email that her “wish” is that the Senate will pass the bill this week, and that it will then be sent to the House of Commons.
“It will become law when the House of Commons has … studied and approved the bill.”