E-cigarette makers warned because labels resemble juice boxes and candy


US regulators issued warning letters Tuesday to 13 companies for marketing liquids for e-cigarettes in a manner that makes them appear child friendly. "These are preventable accidents that have the potential to result in serious harm or even death". “While we continue to encourage the development of potentially less harmful forms of nicotine delivery for now addicted adult smokers, we will not allow that work to come at the expense of our children. In March, it explored "impactful regulatory options the FDA could pursue to address this issue" of tobacco, e-cigarettes, cigars and snus. We appreciate the FTC joining us in these actions.”.

Some of the products include "One Mad Hit Juice Box", "Vape Heads Sour Smurf Sauce" and "V'Nilla Cookies & Milk". Another, "Twirly Pop", "not only resembles a Unicorn Pop lollipop but is shipped with one", the FDA said.

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

Last week, FDA officials said they had started an undercover sting operation targeting retailers that sell the popular Juul products to minors and had asked the maker, Juul Labs, to turn over documents related to marketing practices and health research.

In fact, the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes has coincided with an increase in calls to poison control centers and visits to emergency rooms for e-cigarette liquid poisoning and other nicotine exposure, the agency noted.

Between January 2012 and April 2017, 8,269 toxic exposures among young children linked to e-cigarette liquid were reported to poison control centers in the US, researchers reported last week. Products could be seized or injunctions filed if the companies don't change tactics, the FDA says. But for young kids, ingesting even small amounts of e-liquids can cause seizures, comas, respiratory arrest, and even cardiac arrest.

The agency plans "a series of escalating actions" as part of a new plan to prevent youth tobacco use, Gottlieb said. This is important, as more than 2 million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes and other ENDS in 2016, with flavor availability being one of the top reasons for use.

A list of the commercially sold look-alike packaging was posted online by the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission.

Some of the companies also sold products to minors.

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.

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.