FDA announces a new crackdown on illegal e-cigarettes 

Earlier this week, the FDA and the Justice Department announced their joint plans to address the ongoing issue of illegal e-cigarette sales. 

There will be a task force dedicated to addressing this issue, which will be made up of members from the US Marshals Service, the US Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Trade Commission, and other agencies, all working together to identify and tackle illegal e-cigarette sales and distribution.

Although the FDA has approved 23 tobacco-flavoured e-cigarette products and devices, unauthorised e-cigarettes have continued to surface on the market in recent years, some of which are particularly appealing to minors. 

The newly established federal task force will focus on several key areas, including the investigation and prosecution of new criminal, civil, seizure, and forfeiture actions. Violations can lead to felony convictions, substantial criminal fines, civil monetary penalties, and the seizure of unauthorised products.

The FDA recently sent out over 1,100 warning letters to distributors, manufacturers, importers, and retailers for the illegal sale or distribution of unauthorised tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. In December, the FDA seized approximately 1.4 million units of e-cigarette products.

According to the latest figures from the CDC, more than one in ten young adults in the United States regularly use e-cigarettes. The 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey reported that approximately 2.1 million youths are currently using these products.

Under existing regulations, new tobacco products must obtain marketing authorisation from the FDA before they can be sold. Pre-existing e-cigarette products are allowed to remain on the market, provided that manufacturers submit applications for their continued sale.

In its news release, the Justice Department said: “Unauthorized e-cigarettes and vaping products continue to jeopardize the health of Americans – particularly children and adolescents – across the country. 

This interagency Task Force is dedicated to protecting Americans by combatting the unlawful sale and distribution of these products. And the establishment of this Task Force makes clear that vigorous enforcement of the tobacco laws is a government-wide priority.”

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