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  5. Advantage Services - 09/11/2014
  1. Compliance Actions and Activities

WARNING LETTER

Advantage Services


Delivery Method:
USPS andElectronic Mail

Recipient:
Recipient Name
Ken Bonagura
Advantage Services


Charlotte, NC 28262
United States

Issuing Office:
Center for Tobacco Products

United States


  

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

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

SEPT 11, 2014

VIA USPS andElectronic Mail
 
Ken Bonagura
Advantage Services
PO Box 620056
Charlotte, NC 28262
Telephone: 704-970-8905
admin@advantageservice.net
 
WARNING LETTER
Dear Mr. Bonagura:
 
The Center for Tobacco Products of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently reviewed your website,http://www.advantageservice.net, and determined that 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 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 your website, http://www.advantageservice.net, 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.” 
 
We note that on your website,http://www.advantageservice.net, you present loose tobacco products containing the package description “pipe tobacco” but that are promoted and offered for sale as cigarette tobacco and/or roll-your-own tobacco, including 4 Aces Tobacco, American Club Tobacco, Gambler Tobacco, JP’s Tobacco, Largo Tobacco, Prince Albert Tobacco, Tin Starr Tobacco, and Washington Tobacco brand products. The overall presentation of these products on your website strongly suggests that they are intended for use in a cigarette, likely to be offered to consumers for making cigarettes, and/or likely to be purchased by consumers for making cigarettes. Specifically, your website features a Site Map page where “pipe tobacco” brands are listed in the “Roll Your Own Tobacco” category. Additionally, cigarette tubes are offered in conjunction with this list of tobacco products. Therefore, your products meet the definition of “cigarette tobacco” or “roll-your-own” tobacco in the FD&C Act.
                                                                                                                                    
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 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 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 alsodetermined 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 your website, http://www.advantageservice.net, as being light or mild by referring to them as such in product labeling or advertising and adding the qualifiers “Light” or “Mild,” to the product names. Specifically, our review of your website, http://www.advantageservice.net,revealed that you sell or distribute products listed as: JP’s Tobacco described as “JPs Tobacco Gold (Light)” and Washington Tobacco Gold described as “Gold 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 your website, http://www.advantageservice.net, uses the descriptor “Light,” “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 your website, http://www.advantageservice.net, revealed that you offer for sale the following cigarette tobacco and/or roll-your-own tobacco products: Largo Tobacco Mint, Prince Albert Cherry Vanilla, and Prince Albert Soft Vanilla, 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 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)).
 
If, however, these cigarette tobacco and/or 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 vanilla, vanilla, or mint as a characterizing flavor of the tobacco products.
 
Health Warning Statement Violations
 
FDA has also determined that your smokeless tobacco products aremisbranded 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 your website, http://www.advantageservice.net, revealed that you advertise and offer for sale in the United States the following smokeless tobacco products without any health warning statements, including but not limited to: Redman Original Chewing Tobacco, Taylors Pride Chewing Tobacco, Levi Garrett Chewing Tobacco, Beechnut Original Chewing Tobacco, Lancaster Chewing Tobacco, Durango Chewing Tobacco, Starr Original Chewing Tobacco, J.D.’s Blend Chewing Tobacco, Southern Pride Chewing Tobacco, Bowie Brand Chewing Tobacco, Big Mountain Chewing Tobacco, and Stoker’s L-50. Because your smokeless tobacco product advertisements do not include any health warnings, your smokeless tobacco products aremisbranded 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 advertise, and in 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 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, RW1400195, 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
 
VIA Electronic Mail
 
cc:
 
abuse@wildwestdomains.com
abuse@support.olm.net
Support_info@advantageservice.net
adv@advantageservice.net

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