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20000 Fines Handed Out to 22 Elf Bar Retailers
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$20,000 Fines Handed Out to 22 Elf Bar Retailers

Rarely a month has passed within the last six months when the FDA hasn’t sought financial penalties from multiple stores that continue, either willfully or due to misunderstanding the law, to sell vapes that are not authorized for sale.

This latest batch of Civil Money Penalties (CMPs), announced by the FDA on the 23rd, has been sent to 20 brick-and-mortar and two online retailers. The complaints are mainly focused on the illegal sale of Elf Bar vapes, but also other similar unauthorized devices. The issuing of these CMPs follows warning letters and follow-up inspections, which revealed that these stores had failed to correct the identified violations.

Not a single Elf Bar disposable has been authorized for sale in the United States, but though selling them has now been technically illegal for at least a couple of years, retailers across the country continue to do so, and large fines continue to be handed out.

Each of these retailers now faces a fine in the maximum amount allowed for violating the FD&C Act in this way. Currently, that maximum is $20,678 per violation, although the FD&C Act also allows for an enhanced penalty amount for certain intentional violations relating to tobacco products. The FDA may consider bringing an action for enhanced penalties if there is evidence of intentional (or repeated) violations of the premarket authorization requirements.

As of April 2024, the FDA says more than 550 warning letters and 108 CMPs have been sent to retailers. While not all of those fines were sent to Elf Bar retailers, the brand definitely seems to be a key target for the federal agency. Similar batches of civil penalties were handed out in September, November, and December 2023, and then again in February 2024, and these are only the most recent examples.

The FDA has repeatedly highlighted the results of the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey, which placed Elf Bars as the most popular disposable vape brand among teenagers. Of the 7.7% of teens who admitted using e-cigarettes, more than half named Elf Bar as their favorite brand. This is far above the next most popular brand, Esco Bars, with 21%.

Interestingly, Vuse is listed as the third most popular brand among young people. That’s the same Vuse that is part of BAT, the largest tobacco company in the world, and currently one of the only vape brands with products authorized for sale in America.

Just as with retailers fined in previous months, each of these 22 new violators has the option to pay the penalty, enter into a settlement agreement, request an extension (to respond,) or request a hearing. Retailers that do not take action within 30 days after receiving a complaint risk a default order imposing payment of the maximum penalty amount.

Russ Ware Author Picture 2

Russ Ware

Russ is a UK-based Staff Writer for Versed Vaper who has been in journalism for more than two decades, having previously written for tech publications like Lifewire. He tried vaping in 2015 but the setup that he was using wasn’t quite right and so he didn’t enjoy it at first. However, after going back and forth between vaping and smoking for a couple of years, he started experimenting with different coils, power levels, and mixing his own vape juice. The rest is history and Russ has been a devoted vaper ever since. Russ is a passionate writer and he produces reviews, news, and well-researched informational articles for our site. When Russ is not testing or writing about vapes, he likes to travel, read true crime, and eat anything with lots of chilies.

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