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Retailers Warned for Selling E-Liquids That Look Like Prescription Drugs
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Retailers Warned for Selling E-Liquids That Look Like Prescription Drugs

Warning letters have been issued to six online retailers accused of selling vape liquids with packaging that closely resembles prescription drug bottles. Aside from the fact that the products do not currently have marketing authorization, the FDA-issued warning letters include concerns over their potential appeal to children.

The letters state that the FDA finds some of these products particularly concerning because the design of the Bad Drip Labs e-liquid products is likely to appeal to youth. They go on to say that the pill bottle presentation of the e-liquid products, including the graphical elements on their labeling and/or advertising, could make it appear that the products are prescribed and, in addition, could reasonably result in a child or adult ingesting the products.

Products specifically mentioned include Don’t Care Bear by Bad Drip 60ML, Cereal Trip by Bad Drip 60ML, and Funky Republic FI3000 Disposable 3000 Puff 5ML 4-5% – Apple Watermelon.

Brian King, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said:

“It boggles the mind that someone thought it was a good idea to package a tobacco product to look like a prescription drug bottle. There’s no place for this gratuitous and blatantly dangerous packaging, and the FDA is committed to taking action against the illegal sale of these products.”  

A specific concern mentioned in the warning letters is that the appeal to children is that the design enables them to conceal a tobacco product from parents, teachers, or other adults. It could probably be argued that prescription drug bottles probably aren’t all that appealing to children and most responsible adults would surely question seeing an unknown pill bottle just as readily as they would seeing a vape juice bottle. However, the design choice is nonetheless an inappropriate one. There is no reason for disguising vapes or vape liquids, including making something look like it has been prescribed by a doctor if it isn’t prescription medicine.

Several of the retailers, which include vape.com, misthub.com, and West Coast Vape Supply, were also warned for selling unauthorized disposable e-cigarettes that appeal to youth, including flavors such as apple watermelon and mint, from brands such as Funky Republic and HQD.

The retailers receiving the warning letters are given 15 working days to respond and outline the steps they will take to correct any violations and prevent future violations. Failure to promptly correct the violations can result in the FDA initiating enforcement actions such as an injunction, seizure, and/or civil money penalties.


Unauthorized Tobacco Product Enforcement Action

Enforcement actions such as those mentioned above are now more likely to occur, following the June 10th announcement that the FDA and DOJ have created a federal multi-agency task force to combat the illegal distribution and sale of e-cigarettes.

The task force will also make use of multiple law enforcement entities, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

It will focus on several areas, including investigating and prosecuting new criminal, civil, seizure, and forfeiture actions under the PACT Act. Violations of statutes such as the PACT and Tobacco Control Act can lead to felony convictions, large criminal fines, and civil monetary penalties of more than $20,000. Even before the creation of the new task force, in their efforts to prevent the sale of unauthorized tobacco products, the FDA has:

  • Issued more than 1,100 warning letters to manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers
  • Filed civil money penalty complaints against more than 55 manufacturers and 140 retailers
  • Obtained injunctions against six manufacturers to stop them from manufacturing and selling unauthorized e-cigarette products.
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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