FDA, FTC take action against companies misleading kids with e-liquids

FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Monday issued 13 warning letters to manufacturers, distributors, and retailers for selling e-liquids used in e-cigarettes with labeling and/or advertising that cause them to resemble kid-friendly food products.

FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Monday issued 13 warning letters to manufacturers, distributors, and retailers for selling e-liquids used in e-cigarettes with labeling and/or advertising that cause them to resemble kid-friendly food products. Several of the companies receiving warning letters were also cited for illegally selling the products to minors. In late 2017, FDA started its investigation of tobacco product labeling and advertising that causes the tobacco products to imitate food products, particularly those that are marketed toward, or appealing to, children. The products noted in the warning letters are considered misbranded in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because their labeling and/or advertising imitating kid-friendly foods is false or misleading. FTC joined FDA on the warning letters under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive advertising. The agencies have requested responses from each of the companies within 15 working days. The companies are directed to inform each agency of the specific actions taken to address each agency’s concerns. The warning letters also state that failure to correct violations may result in further action such as seizure or injunction. The use by children and teens of electronic nicotine devices is especially concerning to FDA because of evidence that youth exposure to nicotine affects the developing brain and may rewire it to be more susceptible to nicotine addiction in the future.