The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues its crackdown on retailers and manufacturers who promote and sell electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) products targeting youth. On April 27, the agency warned these businesses that they must stop selling unauthorized products, including backpacks and sweatshirts with pockets that hold and conceal e-cigs; ENDS gadgets that resemble smartwatches, portable video game systems and fidget spinners; and e-liquids packaged to resemble candy or featuring cartoon characters, according to a press release

In a warning letter, the FDA told 10 manufacturers and retailers that it would take additional action, such as injunction, seizure and/or civil money penalties, against those who didn’t cease production, distribution or sale of products appealing to youth. 

The FDA also issued warning letters to 73 brick-and-mortar retailers who sell unauthorized flavored cartridge-based ENDS products. Any new products without a marketing authorization are considered adulterated and misbranded, and selling or distributing these products is prohibited under U.S. law. 

These new enforcements follow the federal government’s raising of the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 as well as the FDA’s efforts to expand public education on e-cig use among young people. 

“Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have not lost our focus on protecting youth against the dangers of e-cigarettes and will do everything we can to take action,” said Mitch Zeller, JD, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. 

Zeller added that these warning letters “should send a clear message” to manufacturers and retailers that the FDA is stringently policing commercial businesses. “If you’re marketing or selling these products to youth, the FDA will not tolerate it,” he said. 

For related coverage, “Makers of Kid-Friendly E-Cigs to Face FDA Enforcement Action” and “Vaping May Lead Teens to Smoking Tobacco Cigarettes.”