Health officials have warned online retailers to stop marketing e-cigarettes to kids to ‘quickly protect public health.’
This week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters to 10 online retailers for selling unauthorized e-cigarette products marketed toward kids.
The agency cited popular products under the brand names Elf Bar, EB Design, Bang, Cali Bars, and Lava.
The warning comes at a time when 2.1million American teens vape, and half of them who try it become addicted.
The FDA sent warning letters to 10 online retailers for selling unauthorized e-cigarettes and marketing them to kids. Elf Bar is one of the most popular brands cited in the letters
The vast majority of youth vapers went for fruit- or candy-flavored vape products in 2023
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Youth Tobacco Survey found half of current youth e-cigarette users smoke disposable products like Elf Bar.
The CDC’s annual Youth Tobacco Survey is a nationally representative sampling of tobacco use, and the trend over the past four years has shown while the rate of young people lighting up is at an all-time low, more young people are going electric.
Dr Brian King, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said: ‘FDA’s robust surveillance of the e-cigarette landscape helps us to identify youth-appealing products and to act quickly to protect public health.
‘The goal is to identify, prevent, and reduce these risks to our nation’s youth before they escalate further.’
The letter recipients are given 15 business days to respond with the steps they will take to correct the violation and prevent future violations, the FDA states.
‘Failure to promptly correct the violations can result in additional FDA actions such as an injunction, seizure, and/or civil money penalties,’ the agency said.
It added: ‘As always, we will hold anyone accountable who sells unauthorized e-cigarettes labeled, advertised, and/or designed to encourage youth use.’
Anti-smoking advocates believe the government can and should be doing more to prevent young people from buying and using vapes.
Matthew Myers, the former president and CEO of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and a staunch critic of the government’s approach, has told DailyMail.com in the past the current youth vaping crisis is a product of ‘a combination of timidity and the tobacco industry fighting regulation at every stage.’
Among those regulations that anti-smoking and vaping advocates have fought for is a national standard cap on the amount of nicotine allowed in e-cigarettes.
The maximum level of nicotine permitted in a vape is fixed at 20 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter of liquid (two percent) in Europe, the UK, and Canada. These devices last for around 550 to 600 puffs.
But in the US, where one can find a vape with as much as five percent nicotine with ease, those concentrations have been steadily rising for some time. An Elf Bar BC5000 device, which contains five percent nicotine, holds about 5,000 puffs.
Flavors like cotton candy and strawberry lemonade, which highly appeal to young users, in highly-addictive vapes compound the problem further.
Highly potent e-cigarettes are extremely addictive. Of all the young people who had tried one, nearly half became regular users.
Nearly nine in 10 youth vapers in 2023 used the flavored products that advocates and many lawmakers have pushed to ban, as evidenced by the fact that children’s use of flavored products had risen from the 83 percent figure in 2020.
Over the past year, the FDA has issued more than 400 warning letters to retailers for selling illegal cigarettes.
In June, the agency ordered 180 stores across the US to stop selling fruit- and candy-flavored e-cigarettes, including Elf and Esco Bars.
Ann Simoneau, director of the Office of Compliance and Enforcement within the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said: ‘CTP will continue to closely monitor all those in the supply chain, including retailers, for compliance with federal law.’
Online retailers issued warning letters by the FDA
Vapor Rage LLC
Ohm Centric Coils LLC
Hubbly Bubbly LLC, d/b/a Trifecta Tobacco
Sweis Global LLC
Prestige 22, Inc, d/b/a The Vapers World
Lingkey Co. Ltd, d/b/a Vape Hammer
Pamirs Group Limited, d/b/a VapeCig Wholesale
Tyler Wholesale Supply LLC d/b/a BBW Supply
Vape Wholesale USA