SILVER SPRING, Md. -- All 17 manufacturers, distributors and retailers that received warning letters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in May for selling e-liquids with labeling or advertising that evoked kid-friendly foods have stopped selling the products, the agency said.
The warning letters—many in partnership with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)—are part of the FDA’s ongoing efforts to protect youth from the dangers of nicotine and tobacco products. The letters identified the nicotine-containing e-liquids as false or misleading, and several of the companies had also been cited for illegally selling the products to minors.
“When companies market these products using imagery that misleads a child into thinking they’re things they’ve consumed before, like a juice box or candy, that can create an imminent risk of harm to a child who may confuse the product for something safe and familiar,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. “We expect to take additional, robust enforcement actions over the next few months that target those who we believe are allowing these products to get into the hands of children.”
Following the warning letters in May, the FDA worked to ensure the companies took appropriate corrective action—such as no longer selling the products with the misleading labeling or advertising—and issued close-out letters to the firms. The agency said it expects some of the companies may sell the products with revised labeling and that it will continue to monitor tobacco product labeling and advertising for potential violations of the law and act as appropriate.
Some examples of the products outlined in the warning letters included One Mad Hit Juice Box, which resembled children’s apple juice boxes, such as Tree Top-brand juice boxes; and Whip’d Strawberry, which resembled Reddi-wip dairy whipped topping.
The warning letters stemmed from investigations that began in late 2017 of tobacco product labeling and advertising imitating that of food products, particularly those that are marketed toward—or appealing to—children. The products were considered misbranded and sold in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
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