Makers of e-Cigs, Liquid Vapes Potentially Targeting Children Pull Products
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that makers of e-cigarette and vaping liquid which could appeal to children have ceased selling them. These include One Mad Hit Juice Box, Unicorn Cakes, and others that were marketed using wording that could potentially entice children to use them. Seventeen makers, distributors, and sellers of nicotine-containing e-liquids for e-cigarettes, in total, have agreed to take their products off the market.
“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,” said FDA commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb. The agency issued an earlier warning that caused the manufacturers to take their products off of shelves. The warning letters stemmed from investigations which began in late 2017 of tobacco product labeling and advertising that imitated food products with particular attention paid to those that used child-appealing wording. All products identified were considered misbranded because they were misleading and were being sold in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
“Removing these products from the market was a critical step toward protecting our kids,” Gottlieb added. “We can all agree no kid should ever start using any tobacco or nicotine-containing product, and companies that sell them have a responsibility to ensure they aren’t enticing youth use.”
The FDA said it expected some of the liquids would still be sold under revised labeling and advertising, so they wouldn’t be so appealing to minors. It said it would continue to monitor the market to ensure makers do not continue to mislead consumers.
More than two million middle and high school students were users of e-cigarettes and related products in 2016, according to the agency. The FDA has expressed concerned about a rise in e-liquid poisonings of children younger than six, and e-cigarettes and liquids can also cause nicotine addiction. E-liquid poisoning and other liquid nicotine exposure in young children can cause seizures, comas, and cardiac or respiratory arrest.
“The fact that these companies have stopped their dangerous and deceptive tactics to attract kids to their vaping products is a timely, positive and appropriate action,” said Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Joe Simons. “The FTC’s message is direct and consistent: We are watching, and we will take action immediately when deception places kids at risk.”
Eric Lindblom, a former FDA tobacco official, said the letters and subsequent action is a step in the right direction. However, continued monitoring will be needed. “Tobacco companies know all sorts of sophisticated, under-the-radar ways to attract kids to their products,” said Lindblom. “What this is doing is addressing the visible tip of the iceberg.”
Gottlieb assured concerns parents, “The FDA will continue to take vigorous actions under our Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan to restrict youth access, limit youth appeal, and reduce toxic exposure to youth from all tobacco products, and, in particular, e-cigarettes. 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.”