Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

The Sabagh Group LLC d/b/a LighterUSA.com 3/4/19

  

Department of Health and Human Services logo

 
 
Center for Tobacco Products
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20993 

 

MARCH 4, 2019
 
VIA UPS and Electronic Mail
                       
Robert Sabagh
The Sabagh Group LLC d/b/a Lighterusa.com
43422 West Oaks Dr. Unit #155
Novi, MI 48337
email@lighterusa.com
 
 
WARNING LETTER
 
Dear Robert Sabagh:
 
The Center for Tobacco Products of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently reviewed the website, http://www.lighterusa.com, and determined that the e-liquid products listed there are advertised and 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, these products are tobacco products because they are made or derived from tobacco and intended for human consumption. Certain tobacco products, including e-liquid products, 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 e-liquid products advertised and offered for sale or distribution on your website are misbranded under section 903(a)(7)(B) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387c(a)(7)(B)) and section 903(a)(1) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387c(a)(1)) and/or section 903(a)(7)(A) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387c(a)(7)(A)) because your website regarding e-liquid products fails to include the required nicotine warning statement for these e-liquid products.
 
E-Liquid Products with Labeling and/or Advertising that Fails to Include the Required Nicotine Warning Statement are Misbranded
 
Our review of the website, http://www.lighterusa.com, revealed that the labeling and/or advertising for several e-liquid products that you advertise and offer for sale or distribution in the United States does not include the required nicotine warning statement, for example: Eon Pods Cool Mint, Loon Pods Mr. Grapefruit ICE, Loon Pods Blueberry Bliss, Loon Pods Lemon Lightning ICE, Loon Pods Mo Mango, Loon Pods Pineapple Express ICE, NicPuff Flavor Pod Mango, NicPuff Flavor Pod Honeydew Carmel, NicPuff Flavor Pod Menthol Tobacco, Njoy Daily eCig Blue and Blackberry, Njoy Daily eCig Cool Menthol, Njoy Prefilled Tank Apple Melon, Njoy Daily eCig Tropical Twist, Njoy Daily eCig Watermelon, Phix by MLV Ice Tobacco, Phix by MLV Mixed, Phix by MLV Spearmint, Phix by MLV Hard Strawberry, Zoor Vapor - Zoor Pods Apple, and Zoor Vapor - Zoor Pods Mint. Under 21 C.F.R. § 1143.3, labeling and advertising for cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and covered tobacco products (other than cigars), such as e-liquid products, must bear the following warning statement:
 
WARNING:  This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.
 
For cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and covered tobacco products other than cigars, it is unlawful for any person to manufacture, package, sell, offer to sell, distribute, or import for sale or distribution in the United States such product unless such tobacco product package bears the following required warning statement on the package label: “WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical” (21 C.F.R. § 1143.3(a)). It also is unlawful for such tobacco product manufacturer, packager, importer, distributor, or retailer of the tobacco product to advertise or cause to be advertised within the United States any tobacco product unless each advertisement bears the required warning statement (21 C.F.R. § 1143.3(b)). Under 21 C.F.R. § 1140.3, a “covered tobacco product” is defined as any tobacco product deemed to be subject to the FD&C Act under 21 C.F.R. § 1100.2, excluding components or parts not made or derived from tobacco. Before 21 C.F.R. § 1100.2 became effective, only cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and cigarette tobacco were subject to chapter IX of the FD&C Act. 21 C.F.R. § 1100.2 deems all other tobacco products, except accessories of such tobacco products, subject to chapter IX and its implementing regulations. The products cited in this violation are “covered tobacco products.” Under section 903(a)(7)(B) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387c(a)(7)(B)), tobacco products are misbranded if sold or distributed in violation of regulations prescribed under section 906(d) of the FD&C Act, including those within 21 C.F.R. Part 1143. Because your website regarding e-liquid products does not include the required nicotine warning statement for these products, in violation of 21 C.F.R. § 1143.3(a) and/or 21 C.F.R. § 1143.3(b), your e-liquid products are misbranded under section 903(a)(7)(B) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387c(a)(7)(B)).
 
In addition, a tobacco product is misbranded under section 903(a)(1) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387c(a)(1)) if its labeling is false or misleading in any particular. 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 labeling and/or 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. Because your website regarding e-liquid products does not include the required nicotine warning statement for these products, your e-liquid products are misbranded under section 903(a)(1) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387c(a)(1)) and/or section 903(a)(7)(A) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387c(a)(7)(A)).   
 
Conclusion and Requested Actions
 
The violation discussed in this letter does not necessarily constitute an exhaustive list. You should immediately correct the violation that is referenced above, as well as violations that are the same as or similar to the one 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, and in any retail establishments 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 any 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. If you do not believe that your products are in violation of the FD&C Act, include your reasoning and any supporting information for our consideration. You can find the FD&C Act through links on FDA’s homepage at http://www.fda.gov.
 
Please note your reference number, RW1901029, 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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The Sabagh Group LLC d/b/a Lighterusa.com
15520 19 Mile Rd
STE 410
Clinton Township, MI 48038
 
The Sabagh Group LLC d/b/a Lighterusa.com
24625 Halsted Rd
Farmington Hills, MI 48335-1611
                                                         

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