Violators could be fined up to $1,000 per offense under Senate Bill 379, introduced Wednesday by Sen. Shannon Jones, a Springboro Republican. The money collected from offenders would go to the local county treasury.
E-cigarettes work by vaporizing a liquid, which is then inhaled. Jones' bill would require childproof packaging for all such liquids, whether they contain nicotine or not.
Children can be attracted to the liquids, which are often scented, said Dr. Sarah Denny, a Columbus pediatrician who serves on the board of directors for the American Academy of Pediatrics' Ohio chapter. That's dangerous, she said, as the liquids can contain a far greater concentration of nicotine than ordinary cigarettes.
In 2013, 257 children were hospitalized after being poisoned with liquid nicotine, Denny said. This year, she said, that number has risen to 481 as of mid-August -- including 15 visits to Ohio hospitals.
Sealed, pre-filled, and disposable replacement cartridges would be exempted under the bill. Denny said those cartridges are more difficult for children to break into.
Minnesota and Vermont already require child-resistant packaging for e-cigarette liquids, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Earlier this year, Gov. John Kasich signed legislation banning the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.