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FDA, CBP Seize More Than $1M Worth of Unauthorized E-Cigarettes

 Action prevents more than 53,000 unauthorized e-cigarettes from entering the U.S. market

June 27, 2024 

FDA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are announcing the seizure of 53,700 unauthorized e-cigarette products valued at more than $1.08 million. While FDA and CBP worked together to seize the shipment at the Chicago port of entry, the unauthorized products were intended for a wholesaler based in Mississippi. 

“FDA will continue to use the full scope of our enforcement tools—including product seizures—to hold bad actors throughout the tobacco product supply chain accountable,” said Brian King, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP). “This action demonstrates how collaboration across the federal government is critical to combat the importation of unauthorized e-cigarettes into the United States.”

The seized shipment, which arrived in the United States from China, included 179 boxes of unauthorized e-cigarettes that were mislabeled as other items. When FDA and CBP examined the products, they determined the shipment violated the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and accordingly initiated seizure procedures. 

FDA collaborated on the joint operation with CBP, which is part of the recently announced federal multi-agency task force to address the illegal distribution and sale of e-cigarettes. The task force brings together law enforcement partners across the federal government to coordinate and streamline efforts to bring all available criminal and civil tools to bear against companies trying to evade the law.  

The action announced today is part of FDA’s comprehensive approach to enforcing the law in coordination with federal partners. Within the past year, the agency has taken several first of their kind actions, including coordinating with CBP to seize more than $18 million in unauthorized e-cigarettes  during a joint operation at LAX airport. Further, this spring, FDA announced that it coordinated with the DOJ and the U.S. Marshals Service to seize over $700,000 worth of unauthorized cigarettes  from a warehouse in California.

In addition to product seizures, to date, FDA has issued 680 warning letters to firms for manufacturing, selling, and/or distributing illegal unauthorized new tobacco products, issued more than 600 warning letters to retailers for the sale of unauthorized tobacco products, and filed civil money penalty complaints against 60 manufacturers and more than 140 retailers for distribution and/or sale of unauthorized tobacco products.

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