| || |
Department of Health and Human Services
|Public Health Service|
Food and Drug Administration
| ||Center for Tobacco Products|
9200 Corporate Boulevard
Rockville, MD 20850-3229
MAY 15, 2013
VIA Electronic Mail
The Center for Tobacco Products of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently reviewed the website, http://www.get-cheap-cigarettes.com, and determined that your cigarette product(s) listed there are offered for sale to customers in the United States. Under section 201(rr) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FD&C Act) (21 U.S.C. § 321(rr)), as amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, these products are tobacco products because they are made or derived from tobacco and intended for human consumption. Certain tobacco products, including cigarettes, are subject to FDA jurisdiction under section 901(b) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387a(b)).
FDA has determined that several of your products are adulterated under section 902(8) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387b(8)) because you promote them as modified risk tobacco products without an FDA order in effect that permits such promotion. Additionally, FDA has determined that several of your products are adulterated under section 902(5) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387b(5)) or misbranded under section 903(a)(1) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387c(a)(1)) or section 903(a)(7)(A) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387c(a)(7)(A)). You can find the FD&C Act through links on FDA’s homepage at http://www.fda.gov.
Modified Risk Tobacco Product Violations
You describe products that you offer for sale on the website, http://www.get-cheap-cigarettes.com, as being light, ultra light, premium light, and super light by referring to them as such in product labeling or advertising and adding the qualifiers “Light,” “Ultra Light,” “Premium Light,” and “Super Light” to the product names. Specifically, our review of the website revealed that you offer for sale products listed as: “Marlboro Lights (Gold),” “Marlboro Accent (Ultra Lights),” “Bond Lights (Special Selection),” “Davidoff Slim Lights (Gold) 100s,” “Kent Lights Nr. 1 (Infina),” “Kent Premium Lights Nr. 8 (Futura),” “Kent Super Lights Nr. 4 (Neo),” “L&M Lights (Blue),” “L&M Super Lights (Silver Label),” “Lucky Strike Lights (Blue),” “Pall Mall Blue (Lights),” “Pall Mall Lights (Blue),” “Pall Mall Super Slims Blue (Lights) 100’s,” “Pall Mall Ultra Lights (Amber),” “Sovereign Slim Ultra Lights 100’s,” and “Winston Lights (Balanced Blue).”
In addition, your website, http://www.get-cheap-cigarettes.com, provides the following descriptions for several products:
- Virginia Slims are described as being much narrower and longer than normal cigarettes which “avowedly reduce[s] the amount of smoke they produce.”
- Winston cigarettes are described as “featur[ing] a very low 0.1 mg of tar per cigarette. This is one of the lowest in the marketplace, especially in Eastern Europe.”
- For Gauloises cigarettes, it includes the statement “[l]ower tar versions of Gauloises Cigarettes are also available, sold in red and golden/white packets.”
- Epique cigarettes are described as “provid[ing] less harmful chemicals than a full-flavor cigarette.”
A tobacco product with a label, labeling, or advertising that uses the descriptor “light,” “mild,” or “low,” or a similar descriptor, is a “modified risk tobacco product” under section 911(b)(2)(A)(ii) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387k(b)(2)(A)(ii)). A tobacco product is also considered a “modified risk tobacco product” under section 911(b)(2)(A)(i) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387k(b)(2)(A)(i)) if its label, labeling, or advertising explicitly or implicitly represents that (1) the product presents a lower risk of tobacco-related disease or is less harmful than one or more other commercially marketed tobacco products; (2) the product or its smoke contains a reduced level of a substance or presents a reduced exposure to a substance; or (3) the product or its smoke does not contain or is free of a substance. Under section 911(a) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387k(a)), no person may introduce or deliver for introduction into interstate commerce any modified risk tobacco product without an FDA order in effect under section 911(g) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387k(g)). A product that is in violation of section 911(a) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387k(a)) is adulterated under section 902(8) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387b(8)). Because the website uses the descriptor “Light,” or similar descriptors for the above listed products and includes claims that the above products contain a reduced level of a substance, these products are modified risk tobacco products. Because these products are offered for sale to customers in the United States without an appropriate FDA order in effect under section 911(g) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387k(g)), these products are adulterated under section 902(8) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387b(8)).
Flavored Cigarette Violations
Additionally,our review of the website revealed that you offer for sale the following cigarettes:Aroma Rich Apple, Aroma Rich Rum & Cherry, Kiss Super Slims Clubnichka, Kiss Super Slims Fresh Apple, Richmond Cherry, and Sobranie Slims Mints, which are purported to contain an artificial or natural flavor that is a characterizing flavor of the products. Section 907(a)(1)(A) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387g(a)(1)(A)) provides:
[A] cigarette or any of its component parts (including the tobacco, filter, or paper) shall not contain, as a constituent (including a smoke constituent) or additive, an artificial or natural flavor (other than tobacco or menthol) or an herb or spice…that is a characterizing flavor of the tobacco product or tobacco smoke.
As of September 22, 2009, cigarettes marketed and sold in the United States in violation of this provision are adulterated under section 902(5) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387b(5)). Thus, your flavored cigarettes are adulterated.
If, however, these cigarettes do not contain a characterizing flavor, they are misbranded under section 903(a)(1) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387c(a)(1)) or 903(a)(7)(A) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387c(a)(7)(A)) as their labeling or advertising is false or misleading because it makes the representation that the products contain, for example, apple, rum & cherry, strawberry, cherry, or mint as characterizing flavors of the tobacco products.
Conclusion and Requested Actions
The violations discussed in this letter do not necessarily constitute an exhaustive list. You should immediately correct the violations that are referenced above, as well as violations that are the same as or similar to those stated above, and take any necessary actions to bring your tobacco products into compliance with the FD&C Act.
It is your responsibility to ensure that your tobacco products and all related promotional materials on this website, or any other websites or media in which you advertise, comply with each applicable provision of the FD&C Act and FDA’s implementing regulations. Failure to ensure full compliance with the FD&C Act may result in FDA initiating further action without notice, including, but not limited to, civil money penalties, no-tobacco-sale orders, criminal prosecution, seizure, and/or injunction. Please note that adulterated and misbranded tobacco products offered for importation into the United States are subject to detention and refusal of admission.
Please submit a written response to this letter within 15 working days from the date of receipt describing your corrective actions, including the dates on which you discontinued the violative promotion, advertising, sale, and/or distribution of these tobacco products and your plan for maintaining compliance with the FD&C Act.
Please note your reference number, RW1300073, in your response and direct your response to the following address:
PAL-WL Response, Office of Compliance and Enforcement
FDA Center for Tobacco Products
9200 Corporate Boulevard
c/o Document Control Center
Rockville, Maryland 20850
If you have any questions about the content of this letter, please contact Ele Ibarra-Pratt at (301) 796-9235 or via email at CTPCompliance@fda.hhs.gov.
Ann Simoneau, J.D.
Office of Compliance and Enforcement
Center for Tobacco Products
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