The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued four new warning letters to manufacturers and retailers for selling e-liquids used in e-cigarettes with labeling and/or advertising that cause them to resemble kid-friendly food products, such as cereal, soda and pancakes. One of the companies receiving a warning letter was also cited for illegally selling the product to a minor. The warning letters follow actions taken last week by the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission against 13 other makers and sellers of nicotine-containing e-liquids that look like juice boxes, candy or cookies.
“Companies putting children at risk or enticing youth use are on notice. If you target kids, then we’re going to target you,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “These tactics also hurt the e-cigarette industry and those seeking to quit smoking. Efforts to encourage the innovation of novel and potentially less harmful products such as e-cigarettes for currently addicted adult smokers will be severely undermined if bad actors put youth at risk in this fashion. The actions we’ve taken over the last several weeks under our new Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan are just the opening salvo in what’s going to be a sustained campaign to address all aspects of youth access and appeal of tobacco products, and in particular, e-cigarettes.”
The products outlined in the new warning letters, and being sold through multiple online retailers, include: “Frank ‘N Vape,” which resembles Franken Berry cereal; “Chill Purple Grape,” which resembles a grape soda can; and “Unicorn Cakes,” which includes images and cartoons of pancakes, a strawberry beverage and unicorns eating pancakes, similar to graphics and images from the “My Little Pony” television and toy franchise.
The warning letters stem from investigations that began in late 2017 of tobacco product labeling and advertising that cause the tobacco products to imitate food products, particularly those that are marketed toward, and/or appealing to, children. The products are considered misbranded in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because their labeling and/or advertising imitating kid-friendly foods is misleading.
Feature courtesy of the FDA