The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently fired another round of warning shots over the bow of the e-liquid industry.
Citing several companies for misleading packaging and advertising, the dual agencies worked in concert to send out warning letters, indicating minors could mistakenly purchase an e-liquid brand because it appeared similar to a youth product. The move calls for companies to alter packaging that closely resembles popular children’s food products and highlighted an FDA crackdown on vaping products presumedly marketed to minors, according to a press release.
“The images are alarming, and it’s easy to see how a child could confuse these e-liquid products for something they believe they’ve consumed before,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner, said during a press conference.
Initially listing 13 companies, including Candy King, the federal agencies expanded its warning chain to 17 last Thursday. Among the products under federal scrutiny are One Mad Hit Juice Box (NEwhere Inc.) and Vape Head’s Sour Smurf Sauce (Lifted Liquids). Twirly Pop (Omnia E-Liquid) product purchases included a lollipop.
While federal officials were careful to point out none of the products have been linked to child deaths, they cited a disturbing uptick of child poisonings when exposed to nicotine in e-liquid products. If exposed, minors could suffer from a number of health problems, including coma, respiratory arrest, and seizure, reports suggested.
In a recent FDA crackdown sting operation, officials targeted retail stores that sold Juul products to minors. Juul Labs, the parent company, was requested to release its marketing plans and health research documents, according to a press release.
Industry leaders contend the e-liquid packaging was angled to appeal to adult nostalgia, not as bait for minors.
Lifted Liquids owner Nick Warrender told nytimes.com his company halted production of the Vape Heads line about six months ago and reconfigured its packaging design.
“It was something we already saw as a problem,” Warrender said.
The warning letters acted as part of the FDA’s Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, which promotes responsible use of e-cigarettes and vaping, according to a release.
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