FDA, CBP Seize More Than $1 Million Worth of Unauthorized E-Cigarettes

Action prevented more than 53,000 illegal e-cigs from entering the U.S. market, agencies say
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Logo/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized 53,700 unauthorized e-cigarette products valued at more than $1.08 million at the Chicago port of entry. The unauthorized products were intended for a wholesaler based in Mississippi.

“FDA will continue to use the full scope of our enforcement tools—including product seizures—to hold bad actors throughout the tobacco product supply chain accountable,” said Brian King, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). “This action demonstrates how collaboration across the federal government is critical to combat the importation of unauthorized e-cigarettes into the United States.”

The seized shipment, which arrived in the United States from China, included 179 boxes of unauthorized e-cigarettes that were mislabeled as other items. When FDA and CBP examined the products, they determined the shipment violated the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and accordingly initiated seizure procedures.

FDA collaborated on the joint operation with CBP, which is part of the recently announced federal multi-agency task force to address the illegal distribution and sale of e-cigarettes.

The action is part of FDA’s comprehensive approach to enforcing the law in coordination with federal partners. Within the past year, the agency has taken several first-of-their-kind actions, including coordinating with CBP to seize more than $18 million in unauthorized e-cigarettes  during a joint operation at LAX airport. Further, this spring, FDA announced that it coordinated with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Marshals Service to seize more than $700,000 worth of unauthorized cigarettes from a warehouse in California.

In addition to product seizures, to date, the FDA has issued 680 warning letters to firms for manufacturing, selling or distributing illegal unauthorized new tobacco products, issued more than 600 warning letters to retailers for the sale of unauthorized tobacco products, and filed civil money penalty complaints against 60 manufacturers and more than 140 retailers for distribution or sale of unauthorized tobacco products.

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