FDA And FTC Crack Down On Nicotine Products For Vaping : Shots - Health News The federal government issued warnings to companies that sell vaping liquids, saying they are in violation of federal regulations due to packages that appear to market to children or teens.

Federal Government Sends Warning To Vaping Companies

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Vaping is often billed as a healthier alternative to cigarettes or a way to help smokers quit. But the manufacturing of flavored vape products has drawn minors to electronic smoking. Colorado Public Radio's John Daley has more on the FDA's most recent attempts to prevent the marketing of tobacco products to minors.

JOHN DALEY, BYLINE: The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission, on Tuesday, sent warning letters to more than a dozen manufacturers, distributors and retailers of e-cigarette liquids. In a phone briefing for reporters, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says the companies are endangering kids by marketing the products to resemble juice boxes, cookies or candy.

SCOTT GOTTLIEB: You look at the lollipop, for example. I don't see how my 4- or 5-year-old doesn't just look at that and see a lollipop. It's a lollipop.

DALEY: E-liquids are used in electronic cigarettes. And they often use nicotine, which can cause illness, even death, if ingested by a small child. Products targeted have names like Vape Heads' sour Smurf Sauce and V'Nilla Cookies and Milk. And, says Gottlieb...

GOTTLIEB: These are being deliberately designed in ways that they can be just mistakenly confused by a child.

DALEY: Which violate federal guidelines for tobacco labeling and marketing. Jameson Rodgers is with one of the companies, California-based NEWhere, Inc. He said its products are only for adults who want to switch to vaping from traditional cigarettes, which he says are less healthy. The FDA targeted its e-liquid called One Mad Hit Juice Box. Rodgers said the company voluntarily removed it from distribution last year.

JAMESON RODGERS: We definitely didn't intend to position it as a product that would appeal to anybody that wasn't of legal smoking age.

DALEY: Though he admits it might have been confusing for kids. Ray Story is CEO of an industry trade group based in Georgia called the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association. Story says he welcomes the federal agency crackdown on what he calls fly-by-night companies targeting minors.

RAY STORY: Really, would you buy a product to vape with the name Dancing Monkey or Cotton Candy? And at the end of the day, we're trying to create products that have the ability to compete against big tobacco.

DALEY: Last week, the FDA went after the e-cigarette brand Juul and some retail stores for marketing to minors. The companies targeted Tuesday have 15 days to respond to either defend their practices or explain how they'll change their labeling or risk federal actions such as fines or prosecution.

For NPR News, I'm John Daley.


INSKEEP: That story is part of a reporting partnership with NPR, Colorado Public Radio and Kaiser Health News.


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