FDA cracks down on vaping products that look like juice boxes and candy

In order to protect kids from the dangers of nicotine and tobacco products, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have issued 13 warning letters to manufacturers, distributors and retailers that are involved in selling e-cigarettes with labeling and/or advertising that looks like products typically marketed to children, such as juice boxes, candy or cookies.

Some of the targeted products also have names that sound like they could be treats intended for kids, such as One Mad Hit Juice Box, Vape Heads Sour Smurf Sauce, V’Nilla Cookies & Milk, Whip’d Strawberry, and Twirly Pop (which actually comes with a lollipop).

Some of the companies were also cited for illegally selling nicotine products to minors. The danger posed by children by ingesting e-liquids (also called “smoke juice”) is real.

“It takes a very small amount of these e-liquids, in some cases less than half a teaspoon, to be at the low end of what could be a fatal effect for a kid, and even less than that to make them very, very sick,” Mitch Zeller, the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, told The New York Times.

You can learn more about nicotine poisoning on the Poison Control website. If your child consumes any product containing nicotine, or any products containing tobacco, call Poison Control immediately for advice on what to do.

vape photo
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

The FDA and the FTC support the creation of nicotine products that have the potential to be less harmful for adults who are addicted to the substance. However, the agencies stand firm in their stance that such products are not appropriate for children and that measures must be taken to ensure their inability to obtain them.

“Protecting young children from unwarranted health and safety risks is one of our highest priorities,” Maureen K. Ohlhausen, acting FDA chairman, said in a press release. “Nicotine is highly toxic, and these letters make clear that marketing methods that put kids at risk of nicotine poisoning are unacceptable.”

nicotine photo
Getty Images | Dondi Tawatao

Per the letters, the companies must respond within 15 working days of receipt by informing each agency of the actions taken to address the problems. If they don’t comply, it may result in further disciplinary action.

The move comes on the heels of an announcement from the FDA about a Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, including a crackdown on the sale of e-cigarettes, particularly JUUL products, to minors. The FDA announced that is has been cracking down on the illegal sale of JUUL products both in stores and online since April 6.

JUUL products are popular with teens and young adults, and a recent study showed that users don’t realize how much nicotine is in the e-cigarettes.