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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

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www.e-tobaccos.com 8/8/14

  

Department of Health and Human Services logoDepartment of Health and Human Services

Public Health Service
Food and Drug Administration
 
Center for Tobacco Products
Building 71, Room G335
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002 

AUG 8, 2014

VIAElectronic Mail
 
To: sales@e-tobaccos.com
 
 
WARNING LETTER
 
The Center for Tobacco Products of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently reviewed the website, http://www.e-tobaccos.com, and determined that your cigarette, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco products 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 (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, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco, are subject to FDA jurisdiction under section 901(b) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387a(b)).
 
FDA has determined that the website, http://www.e-tobaccos.com, offers for sale cigarette tobacco and/or roll-your-own tobacco. Section 900(4) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387(4)) defines “cigarette tobacco” as “any product that consists of loose tobacco that is intended for use by consumers in a cigarette.”  Section 900(15) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387(15)) defines “roll-your-own tobacco” as “any tobacco product which, because of its appearance, type, packaging, or labeling, is suitable for use and likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as tobacco for making cigarettes.”
 
Specifically, your website lists products under a “Rolling Tobacco” category. Thus, the overall presentation of your loose tobacco products suggests that they are intended for use in a cigarette or appear to be suitable for use and likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as tobacco for making cigarettes. Therefore, they meet the definition of “cigarette tobacco” and/or “roll-your-own tobacco” in the FD&C Act.  
                                                                                                                                    
FDA has determined that several of your cigarette tobacco and/or roll-your-own tobacco products are adulterated under section 902(8) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387b(8)) because they are modified risk tobacco products sold or distributed without an FDA order in effect that permits such sale or distribution. Additionally, FDA has determined that several of your cigarette, cigarette tobacco, and/or roll-your-own tobacco 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)) because they purport to contain a natural or artificial characterizing flavor. Finally, FDA has determined that several of your smokeless tobacco products are misbranded under section 903(a)(7)(A) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387c(a)(7)(A)) because you fail to include in your smokeless tobacco product advertisements any health warning label statements. You can find the FD&C Act through links on FDA’s homepage at http://www.fda.gov.
 
Modified Risk Tobacco Product Violations
 
You sell or distribute products that you describe on the website, http://www.e-tobaccos.com, as being mild by referring to them as such in product labeling or advertising. Specifically, our review of the website revealed that you sell or distribute roll-your-own tobacco products listed as: Cutters Choice described as “Mild,” Drum Halfzware Shag described as “mild,” Golden Virginia described as “mild,” Samson Bright Blend described as “previously named ‘Samson Mild’,” and Samson Halfzware described as “mild.”
 
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)). 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 “mild,” or similar descriptors for the above listed products, these products are modified risk tobacco products. Because these products are sold or distributed 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, http://www.e-tobaccos.com, revealed that you offer for sale the following cigarette products: “Black Devil After Dinner/cherry Mix ” and a product described as “Black Devil Chocolate Flavor,” which are purported to contain an artificial or natural flavor that is a characterizing flavor of the products. You also offer for sale the following cigarette tobacco and/or roll-your-own tobacco products: “Apache Blend Vanilla,” “Harvest Apple Lemon,” “Harvest Cherry,” “Harvest Mint,” “Harvest Mix A.lemon/w.berry” (apple lemon and berry), “Harvest Vanilla,” “Mac Baren Dark Choco Choice,” (dark chocolate), and “Mac Baren Vanilla Choice,” 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.
 
These requirements apply to cigarettes and cigarette tobacco, which includes roll-your-own tobacco and any other loose tobacco intended to be used in cigarettes or as roll-your-own tobacco. See sections 900(3), 900(4), 907(a)(1)(A) of the FD&C Act; (21 U.S.C. § 387(3); 21 U.S.C. § 387(4); 21 U.S.C. § 387g(a)(1)(A)). As of September 22, 2009, cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, and roll-your-own tobacco 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 cigarette, cigarette tobacco, and roll-your-own tobacco products are adulterated under section 902(5) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387b(5)).
 
If, however, these cigarette, cigarette tobacco, and roll-your-own tobacco products 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 section 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, cherry, dark chocolate, mint, vanilla, apple lemon, or berry as a characterizing flavor of the tobacco products.
 
Health Warning Statement Violations
 
FDA has also determined that your smokeless tobacco products are misbranded under section 903(a)(7)(A) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387c(a)(7)(A)) because you fail to include in your smokeless tobacco product advertisements any health warning label statements. 
 
Section 3(b) of the Comprehensive Smokeless Tobacco Health Education Act of 1986 (Smokeless Tobacco Act) (15 U.S.C. § 4402), as amended by section 204 of the Tobacco Control Act (P.L. 111-31, 123 Stat. 1846) requires that advertisements for smokeless tobacco products bear one of the following health warning label statements:
 
WARNING: This product can cause mouth cancer.
 
WARNING: This product can cause gum disease and tooth loss.
 
WARNING: This product is not a safe alternative to cigarettes.
 
WARNING: Smokeless tobacco is addictive.
 
A tobacco product is misbranded under section 903(a)(7)(A) of the FD&C Act, (21 U.S.C. § 387c(a)(7)(A)), if, in the case of any tobacco product distributed or offered for sale in any State, its advertising is false or misleading in any particular.  Under section 201(n) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 321(n)), in determining whether advertising is misleading, the agency considers, among other things, the failure to reveal material facts concerning the consequences that may result from the customary or usual use of the product. 
 
Our review of the website, http://www.e-tobaccos.com, revealed that you advertise and offer for sale in the United States the following smokeless tobacco products without any health warning statements: “Chema Mint,” “Makla Bouhlel Bentchicou Rouge,” “Makla El Kantara,” “Makla Ifrikia,” “Gawith Apricot,” “Gletscherprise,” and “Lowenprise.”  Because your smokeless tobacco product advertisements do not include any health warnings, your smokeless tobacco products are misbranded under section 903(a)(7)(A) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387c(a)(7)(A)).   
 
In addition, we note that you are required to follow all other applicable federal laws and regulations.  For example, section 3(b)(3) of the Smokeless Tobacco Act (15 U.S.C. § 4402), requires the quarterly rotation of warning label statements on advertising for each brand of smokeless tobacco.  Quarterly rotation must be done in accordance with a plan submitted by the tobacco product manufacturer, importer, distributor, or retailer and approved by FDA. 
 
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, on any other websites (including e-commerce, social networking, or search engine websites), and in any other media in which you sell or 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 import 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, RW1400185, in your response and direct your response to the following address:
 
DPAL-WL Response, Office of Compliance and Enforcement
FDA Center for Tobacco Products
c/o Document Control Center
Building 71, Room G335
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002
 
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.   
 
 
Sincerely,
 
/S/
Ann Simoneau, J.D.
Director
Office of Compliance and Enforcement
Center for Tobacco Products
 
VIAElectronic Mail
 
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