Tobacco

FDA Warns 7 Retailers for Selling E-Cigarettes That Look Like Toys, Drinks

Online sellers have 15 working days to respond
E-cigarettes and toys/drinks
Images/FDA

The Food and Drug Administration warned seven online retailers for selling or distributing unauthorized e-cigarettes packaged to look like youth-appealing toys and drink containers, including milk cartons, soft drink bottles and slushies.

The products’ designs may help conceal the e-cigarettes from adults or be confused with an everyday object and accidentally ingested by young children, the FDA said.

“As we continue into the school year, it’s critical that parents, teachers and other adults are aware of illegal e-cigarettes deceptively packaged to look like everyday items,” said Brian King, director of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “These types of products can be easily concealed and contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and can harm the developing adolescent brain.”

The FDA sent its latest round on Nov. 16. A full list of the retailers who the FDA sent warning letters to can be found on its website.

Retailers that received a warning letter lack authorization from the FDA to sell or distribute their e-cigarettes in the United States, the agency said. They have 15 working days to respond to FDA with the steps they will take to create any violations and prevent any further violations. Failure to do so could result in additional FDA action such as injunctions, seizure or civil money penalties.

E-cigarettes remain the most commonly used tobacco product among both high school and middle school students, with 2.1 million youth reporting they currently used the products in 2023, the FDA said, citing data from the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey.

“FDA uses a variety of surveillance tools to monitor the rapidly evolving e-cigarette landscape and to identify emerging threats to public health,” said Ann Simoneau, director of the Office of Compliance and Enforcement within the CTP. “We use data from these tools to help prioritize investigations of youth-appealing products across the supply chain to ensure illegal products stay off the shelves.”

To date, the FDA has issued about 630 warning letters to companies for manufacturing or distributing illegal e-cigarette products and devices. It has also issued more than 400 warning letters to retailers for the sale of unauthorized e-cigarettes, filed civil money penalty complaints against 35 e-cigarette manufactures and 45 retailers and worked with the Department of Justice to seek injunctions against six manufacturers of unauthorized e-cigarettes.

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