FDA Hammers Groups Selling Vaping Tools To Kids

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As part of a new Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, earlier this month agency officials launched a large-scale, nationwide, undercover blitz to crack down on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors at both brick-and-mortar and online retailers.

As part of a plan announced last July, FDA has gone after 40 retailers who have violated rules on sales of vaping products to kids.

As part of a new Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, on April 6th they began a large-scale, undercover nationwide blitz to crack down on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors at both brick-and-mortar and online retailers. The blitz has resulted in 40 warning letters being sent to those companies. These are not just pop-up stores or individual operations, they have caught 7-Eleven and Circle K also. If they don't comply, the companies face No-Tobacco-Sale Order Complaints, like 110 others have gotten.FDA have issued 70,350 warning letters to retailers for violating the law and initiated about 17,000 civil money penalty cases. 

FDA specifically seems to have the company behind JUUL in its sights. They asked eBay to remove listings for the nicotine delivery product and the online bid company quickly complied. They are also questioning the company about its marketing tactics. The company has grown considerably in the last year, 700 percent to $224.6 million annually in 2017, according to David Pittman at Politico Pro, and FDA wants any information on possible youth marketing, research on use by young people, and if the product was designed to target young people. FDA lauded JUUL for expressing recognition of the problem and being willing to talk with FDA and other stakeholders to discuss concerns. 

Vaping devices, JUUL among them, are valuable tools for smoking cessation and harm reduction but they are not for children, and FDA is doing valuable work in cracking down on sales to minors, no differently than we do with alcohol or cigarettes.

"We’ll hold retailers accountable for continued violations," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD. "Let me be clear to retailers. This blitz, and resulting actions, should serve as notice that we will not tolerate the sale of any tobacco products to youth."