Consumer News

FTC, FDA Warn Marketers of E-Liquids That Look Like Kids’ Candy

Agencies crack down on copycat packaging targeting minors in the e-cigarette industry.

Consumer News

FTC, FDA Warn Marketers of E-Liquids That Look Like Kids’ Candy

It’s No. 8 on our list of things you should know about e-cigarettes: The use of kid-friendly e-liquid flavors and packaging to market the products to minors.

Yesterday, the FTC and FDA sent warning letters to 13 e-liquid companies selling their products online whose packaging resembles a number of candy and cookie items that kids love to gobble up, including Sour Patch Kids, Warheads, Nilla Wafers and Golden Oreos. But the most brazen copycat of all comes from an e-liquid whose packaging is designed to look like a juice box — it has the words “JUICE BOX” on the label — and is even apple-scented.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a release said it best: “Looking at these side-by-side comparisons is alarming.”

See for yourself (comparisons by FTC/FDA):

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To state the obvious, the e-liquids have no connection to the foods, other than, of course, their imitation of the packaging in a way that might constitute copyright infringement.

The 13 e-liquid companies who have 15 days to get back to the FTC and FDA with the actions they’re taking to address the agencies’ concerns are: NEwhere, Inc. d/b/a Mad Hatter Juice (which better not be a claim that you can smoke e-cigs anywhere because that’s not true); ACH Group, LLC d/b/a Candy Co E-Liquids; Drip More, LLC; On Cloud Vape; 7 Daze, LLC; Sugoi LLC d/b/a Sugoi Vapor; Fog It Up; Elite Vaporworks; Omnia E-Liquid; Tinted Brew, Inc.; Cosmic Fog Vapors LLC d/b/a Next Day Vapor Products; Warrender Enterprises Inc. d/b/a Lifted Liquids and E-Liquid Retail; and Ultimate Vape Deals.

Said Acting FTC Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen:

Protecting young children from unwarranted health and safety risks is one of our highest priorities. Nicotine is highly toxic, and these letters make clear that marketing methods that put kids at risk of nicotine poisoning are unacceptable.

The FTC says in a blog post that a child can die from ingesting as little as a teaspoon of liquid nicotine or e-liquid. And calls to poison control centers and visits to emergency rooms are on the rise. From January 2012 to April 2017, there were more than 8,000 e-cigarette and liquid nicotine exposures among children aged 6 and younger, according to an analysis of data noted by the FTC.

Meanwhile, older kids in middle school and high school — more than two million of which used e-cigarettes in 2016 but who are now banned from purchasing the tobacco products — cite the availability of flavors like candy as a top reason for use, according to the FTC.

Find more of our coverage on e-cigs here.

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