The Food and Drug Administration warned three distributors for selling and/or distributing multiple unauthorized e-cigarettes under brands Elf Bar/EB Design, Esco Bars and Puff Max.
ABS Distribution Inc., EC Supply Inc. and Easy Wholesale LLC were the three companies sent warning letters, the FDA said on Thursday.
“FDA is committed to keeping a finger on the pulse of the rapidly evolving e-cigarette landscape, including through a variety of scientific assets equipped to quickly identify products with high youth appeal,” said Brian King, director of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “We will continue to use this data-driven approach to inform actions across the entire supply chain, including against those who distribute illegal products between manufacturers and the point of sale.”
The brands cited in the warning letters have been identified as being among the most popular e-cigarettes among U.S. youth, the FDA said. The agency has also warned other companies, including c-store retailers, for selling these products.
“Warning letters are generally the first step once an inspection reveals a violation of the law,” said Ann Simoneau, director of the Office of Compliance and Enforcement within the CTP. “We will monitor to ensure these violations are corrected, and if they are not, the recipient is at risk of further actions such as civil money penalties, seizures and injunctions.”
Letter recipients have 15 days to respond with the steps they’ll take to correct the violation and prevent future violations. Most warning letter recipients voluntarily take corrective action, the FDA said. In the past year, the FDA has issued its first injunctions and civil money penalties against e-cigarette manufacturers.
The FDA also said funding for a new Center for Rapid Surveillance of Tobacco will help it monitor the rapidly evolving tobacco product landscape.
The FDA’s ramped-up enforcement efforts come as organizations that service c-stores, like NACS, have called on the agency to provide more transparency on its premarket tobacco product application (PMTA) process and to help with enforcement throughout the supply chain and at borders to combat the growth of the illicit market for e-cigarettes.
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