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FDA Warns Six Online Retailers for Selling Unauthorized E-Liquids Resembling Prescription Drug Bottles

Retailers Also Warned for Sale of Unauthorized Youth-Appealing E-Cigarettes

June 13, 2024

On June 13, FDA announced the issuance of warning letters to six online retailers for selling unauthorized e-liquid products from the Bad Drip brand that imitate prescription drug bottles. The retailers were also warned for selling unauthorized flavored, disposable e-cigarettes, including those under the brand names Funky Republic and HQD.

e-liquid resembling prescription bottle

“It boggles the mind that someone thought it was a good idea to package a tobacco product to look like a prescription drug bottle,” said Brian King, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “There’s no place for this gratuitous and blatantly dangerous packaging, and FDA is committed to taking action against the illegal sale of these products."

In addition to selling e-liquids that imitate prescription drug bottles, each of these retailers was warned for selling unauthorized disposable e-cigarettes that appeal to youth—including flavors such as apple watermelon and mint. According to the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey, among U.S. middle and high school students who used e-cigarettes, 89.4 percent reported using flavored products and 60.7 percent reported using disposable products. FDA continues to take compliance and enforcement actions informed by the agency's ongoing monitoring of multiple surveillance systems, which are used to identify products that are popular among youth or have youth appeal.

For all of the actions, the retailers receiving the warning letters sold or distributed e-cigarette products in the United States that lack authorization from FDA to legally market a new tobacco product, in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The retailers receiving the warning letters are given 15 working days to respond with the steps they will take to correct any violations and to prevent future violations. Failure to promptly correct the violations can result in FDA initiating enforcement actions such as an injunction, seizure, and/or civil money penalties.

These new warning letters mark another step in FDA’s continued efforts to remove illegal e-cigarette products from the market, particularly those that appeal to youth. To date, FDA has issued more than 550 warning letters and more than 100 civil money penalty complaints to retailers for the sale of unauthorized e-cigarettes. FDA has also sought injunctions against seven manufacturers of unauthorized e-cigarette products in coordination with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and seized unauthorized e-cigarette products valued at more than $700,000 in coordination with DOJ.

To date, FDA has authorized 23 tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products and devices. These are the only e-cigarette products that currently may be lawfully marketed and sold in the United States; further information on tobacco products that may be legally marketed in the United States is available in FDA’s Searchable Tobacco Products Database.

 
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