Regulatory Agencies Target ‘Kid-Friendly’ E-Liquid Packaging

By 
Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

vaping man

WASHINGTON -- Taking another step in its recently announced crackdown on vaping among underage youth, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued 13 warning letters to manufacturers, distributors and retailers for selling e-liquids with labeling that they say could resemble kid-friendly food products.

Some of these e-liquids (used in electronic cigarettes for vaping) resemble juice boxes, candy or cookie packages or use cartoon imagery, FDA officials said in a statement released May 1. Several of the companies receiving warning letters, some for selling their products via the internet, were also cited for illegally selling the products to minors, the agencies said.

“No child should be using any tobacco product, and no tobacco products should be marketed in a way that endangers kids—especially by using imagery that misleads them into thinking the products are things they’d eat or drink,” said Scott Gottlieb, commissioner for the Silver Spring, Md.-based FDA. “Looking at these side-to-side comparisons is alarming. It is easy to see how a child could confuse these e-liquid products for something they believe they’ve consumed before, like a juice box.”

Maureen Ohlhausen, acting chairman of the FTC, Washington, D.C., said, “Protecting young children from unwarranted health and safety risks is one of our highest priorities. Nicotine is highly toxic, and these letters make clear that marketing methods that put kids at risk of nicotine poisoning are unacceptable.”

Here are a few examples of the products named in the FDA-FTC statement ...

Juice box

one mad hit juice box

Some examples of the products outlined in the warning letters and being sold through multiple online retailers include One Mad Hit Juice Box, which could resemble children’s apple juice boxes, such as Tree Top-brand juice boxes, the statement said.

Candy

vapeheads

Vape Heads Sour Smurf Sauce may resemble War Heads candy, the FDA and FTC said.

Cookie box

v'nilla cookies and milk

V’Nilla Cookies & Milk might resemble Nilla Wafers and Golden Oreo cookies, the agencies said.

Whipped cream

whip'd strawberry

Whip’d Strawberry could resemble Reddi-wip dairy whipped topping, the FDA-FTC statement said.

Lollipops

twirly pop

Twirly Pop, which the FDA and FTC said resembles a Unicorn Pop lollipop, also gets shipped with one.

Background

cigarettes flavored variety

In late 2017, the FDA started its investigation of tobacco-product labeling and advertising that causes the tobacco products to resemble food products, particularly those that are marketed toward, or appealing to, children, the agency said. The products cited in the warning letters are considered misbranded in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act because the labeling and advertising imitating kid-friendly foods is false or misleading. The FTC joined the FDA on the warning letters under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive advertising.

The FDA and the FTC have requested responses from each of the companies within 15 working days. The companies are directed to inform each agency of the specific actions taken to address each agency’s concerns. The warning letters also state that failure to correct violations may result in further action such as seizure or injunction.

Companies receiving warnings

Here’s a list of the companies issued warning letters as of May 1:

  • 7 Daze LLC, Baldwin Park, Calif.
  • ACH Group LLC, dba Candy Co. E-Liquids, Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
  • Cosmic Fog Vapors LLC, Costa Mesa, Calif.
  • Drip More LLC, Riverside, Calif.
  • Elite Vaporworks, St. Louis
  • Fog It Up, Fountain Valley, Calif.
  • NEwhere Inc., dba Mad Hatter Juice, Chatsworth, Calif.
  • Omnia E-Liquid, Las Vegas
  • On Cloud Vape, Los Angeles
  • Sugoi LLC, Tustin, Calif.
  • Tinted Brew Inc., Canoga Park, Calif.
  • Ultimate Vape Deals, Austin, Texas
  • Warrender Enterprise Inc., Bristol, Wis.

In addition, the FDA sent warnings to Fusion IV Pharmaceuticals, dba Axia Pharmaceutical, Los Angeles, in February and MC Fish Co., Milton, Ky., in April.