Published: Thu, May 03, 2018
Medical | By

FDA warns of nicotine products resembling food, candy

FDA warns of nicotine products resembling food, candy

Federal authorities said on May 1, 2018, they were issuing 13 warning letters to companies that sell liquid nicotine and electronic cigarettes in packaging created to attract children, including ones that resemble juice boxes and others that look like candy. With teenagers viewing smoking e-cigarettes as trendy and the number of young kids accidentally consuming liquid nicotine "skyrocketing", the FDA is hoping that these measures will make it harder for kids to get their hands on both e-cigarettes and e-liquid.

According to the release, the warning letters outlined examples of the products being sold through online outlets, including "One Mad Hit Juice Box", which resembles children's apple juice boxes, including Tree Top-brand juice boxes; "Vape Heads Sour Smurf Sauce", resembling War Heads candy; and "V'Nilla Cookies & Milk", resembling Nilla Wafer and Golden Oreo Cookies.

"Looking at these side-to-side comparisons is alarming".

Several of the companies that received the latest warning letters were also found to be selling the products to minors illegally, the FDA said.

This use by children and teens is especially concerning to the FDA because of evidence that youth exposure to nicotine affects the developing brain and may rewire it to be more susceptible to nicotine addiction in the future.

Some of the products even smelled like the food they were imitating, said Maureen K. Ohlhausen, acting chairwoman of the FTC.

Federal regulators have given the makers of these e-liquids 15 working days to respond to their warning letters, otherwise their products may be seized. The warning letters also state that failure to correct violations may result in further action such as seizure or injunction. "(We will) continue to take action against those who sell tobacco products to youth and market products in this egregious fashion".

The agency plans "a series of escalating actions" as part of a new plan to prevent youth tobacco use, Gottlieb said.

This isn't the first time the FDA has moved to regulate the growing popularity of e-cigarettes. According to the National Poison Data System, there were a total of 8,269 e-cigarette and liquid nicotine exposures among children younger than six between January 2012 and April 2017.

E-cigarettes are handheld electronic devices that vaporize a fluid typically including nicotine and a flavor component.

The government agencies are demonstrating renewed vigor in cracking down on kid-friendly nicotine products in the wake of renewed pressure by groups such as the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Child poisonings from ingesting liquid nicotine have recently increased.

The FDA is also now considering taking other regulatory actions to curtail underage use of e-cigarettes, including banning flavors that appeal to younger users.

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