Electric Lotus, a manufacturer, distributor and retailer, based in Redlands, California received a warning letter for selling nicotine-containing e-liquids with labeling that resembles kid-friendly food products, such as cereal, candy and peanut butter and jelly.
“The products outlined in the new warning letter, include, for example: “Cereal Treats Crunch,” which resembles Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal products; “Cereal Treats Loopz,” which looks like Froot Loops cereal; “Cereal Treats Charms,” which resembles Lucky Charms cereal products; and “Cereal Treats Krispies,” which looks like Rice Krispies Treats cereal.”
“Many of these products have cartoon characters on their labeling and/or advertising. Additional products include those such as “Jammin Berries Peanut Jamz Raspberry,” which resembles Smucker’s Goober Strawberry PB&J Stripes and “Dripflavors Strawberry Lemonade Salt,” which looks like Life Savers candy products,” said the FDA in a Press Release on its website.
There’s no excuse for packaging that resembles children’s food items
The manufacturer was also cited for selling products to a minor, for failing to list its products with the FDA and for selling e-liquids without the required FDA premarket authorization. “We’re seeing too many cases where companies are designing e-liquid products in packages that resemble children’s food items and this sort of egregious marketing can lead to accidental ingestion of potentially lethal doses of nicotine by young kids. There’s no excuse for this sort of packaging and we’ll continue to target these products and the companies that market them,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.
“The FDA will also continue to implement new steps to make sure children aren’t started down a path to nicotine addiction and tobacco use. Those include actions to target those who design products in ways that are clearly marketed to appeal to children. No child should be using any tobacco product. We’ll continue to hold industry accountable to ensure these products aren’t being marketed to, sold to or used by kids.”
FDA actions against flavours and teen vaping
Subsequently last month, the FDA also announced that it would ban most e-liquid flavours with the exception of tobacco, mint and menthol at most traditional retail outlets such as convenience stores. While other fruity- or dessert-flavored varieties, will only be sold at age-restricted stores or through online merchants that use age-verification checks.
Banning all flavours may be counterproductive
On the other hand, despite the fact that everyone is in agreement that e-liquid flavours should not be marketed in a way that entices teens to take on vaping, public health experts agree that banning them would be detrimental to adult smokers. A recent large scale peer reviewed study published in the Harm Reduction Journal, indicated that restricting e-liquid flavours may discourage smokers from switching to the proven safer alternatives that could save their life.
This study was conducted by the Centre for Substance Use Research (CSUR), and gathered data from over 20,000 adult frequent vapers in the US. The results indicated that the majority of regular e-cigarette users, had transitioned directly from smoking cigarettes to vaping non-tobacco flavours, or switched from tobacco to non-tobacco flavours over time.