Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

www.discountforcigs.com 10/15/15

  

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

Food and Drug Administration
 
Center for Tobacco Products
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20993 

 

OCT 15, 2015

VIA Electronic Mail
 
To: support@discountforcigs.com
 
WARNING LETTER
 
The Center for Tobacco Products of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently reviewed the website http://www.discountforcigs.com and determined that the cigarette products listed there are offered for sale or distribution to customers in the United States. Under section 201(rr) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (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, 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 cigarette 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 cigarette 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.
 
Modified Risk Tobacco Product Violations
 
Our review of the website, http://www.discountforcigs.com, revealed that you sell or distribute the following cigarette products listed or described in product labeling or advertising as being, for example, light, mild, or using similar descriptors: Bond Special Selection (“Bond Lights (Special Selection)”), Camel Blue (“Camel Lights (Blue)”), Camel Silver (“Camel Super Lights (Silver)”), Classic Blue (described as “light”), Classic Slims Blue (described as “light”), Classic Silver (described as “ultra light”), Classic Slims Silver (described as “ultra light”), Golden Gate Blue (described as “mild”), Kent Infina Nanotek (described as “light”), Kent HD (“Kent Lights Nr. 1 (Infina),” “Kent Premium Lights Nr. 8 (Futura),” and “Kent Super Lights Nr. 4 (Neo)”), L&M Blue Label (“L&M Lights (Blue)”), L&M Silver Label (“L&M Super Lights (Silver Label)”), L&M One (described as “light”), Lucky Strike Blue (“Lucky Strike Lights (Blue)”), Marlboro Gold Accent (“Marlboro Accent (Ultra Lights)”), Marlboro Gold Original (“Marlboro Lights (Gold)”), Marlboro (“Marlboro Ultra Lights (Silver)”), Monte Carlo Blue 100’s (described as “light”), Pall Mall Blue (“Pall Mall Lights (Blue),” “Pall Mall Blue (Lights),” and “Pall Mall Super Slims Blue (Lights) 100’s”), Pall Mall (“Pall Mall Ultra Lights (Amber)”), Pall Mall brand (described as “mild”), Parliament Silver Blue (“Parliament Extra Lights (Silver Blue)”), Parliament Aqua Blue (“Parliament Lights (Aqua Blue)”), President Special Stars (described as “milder”), Sovereign Slims Ultra (“Sovereign Slim Ultra Lights 100’s”), West Silver Compact (described as “light”), and West Silver Fusion (described as “light”). In addition, you sell or distribute cigarette products that are described in product labeling or advertising as being less harmful than one or more other commercially marketed tobacco products or having a reduced level of/exposure to a substance.  Specifically, the website, http://www.discountforcigs.com, includes the following claims: Golden Gate Blue and Golden Gate Red, described as having a “progressive filter system [that] retains more harmful ingredients in the filters”; Magna Blue (Lights), described as having “very less amount of Nicotine and tar” (sic); Monte Carlo Fine White and Monte Carlo Subtle Silver, described as having an “extremely low amount of tar and nicotine”; and Parliament brand cigarettes, described as “not caus[ing] much harm to the smoker.”
 
A tobacco product with a label, labeling, or advertising that uses the descriptor “light,” “mild,” “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)). 
 
The above listed products are modified risk tobacco products because the website uses the descriptors light, mild, or similar descriptors to describe these products or describes them as being less harmful than one or more other commercially marketed tobacco products or having a reduced level of/exposure to a substance. 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.discountforcigs.com, revealed that you offer for sale or distribute flavored cigarette products, for example: Aroma Rich Apple, Aroma Rich Rum & Cherry, Kiss Mohito (mini), Kiss Super Slims Clubnichka 100’s (strawberry image), Kiss Super Slims Energy 100’s (fruit), Kiss Super Slims Fresh Apple 100’s, Richmond Cherry, Richmond Cherry 4, Richmond Cherry Gold Super Slims 100s, Richmond Cherry Super Slims 100s, and Sobranie Slims Mints 100’s. These products 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.
 
Cigarettes that are distributed or 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 products areadulterated under section 902(5) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387b(5)).
 
If, however, these cigarette 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 theirlabeling or advertising is false or misleading because it makes the representation that the products contain, for example, apple, rum & cherry, mojito, strawberry, fruit, cherry, or mint as a characterizing flavor 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 labeling and/or advertising on this website, on any other websites (including e-commerce, social networking, or search engine websites), and in any other 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 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 labeling, advertising, sale, and/or distribution of these tobacco products and your plan for maintaining compliance with the FD&C Act. You can find the FD&C Act through links on FDA’s homepage at http://www.fda.gov.
 
Please note your reference number, RW1500412, 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
 
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