FTC take action against companies misleading kids with e-liquids that resemble children’s juice boxes, candies and cookies

Posted on May 8, 2018 by

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As part of ongoing efforts to protect youth from the dangers of nicotine and tobacco products, today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued 13 warning letters to manufacturers, distributors, and retailers for selling e-liquids used in e-cigarettes with labeling and/or advertising that cause them to resemble kid-friendly food products, such as juice boxes, candy or cookies, some of them with cartoon-like imagery. Several of the companies receiving warning letters were also cited for illegally selling the products to minors.

Some examples of the products outlined in the warning letters, and being sold through multiple online retailers, include: “One Mad Hit Juice Box,” which resembles children’s apple juice boxes, such as Tree Top-brand juice boxes; “Vape Heads Sour Smurf Sauce,” which resembles War Heads candy; and “V’Nilla Cookies & Milk,” which resembles Nilla Wafer and Golden Oreo cookies. Other products include “Whip’d Strawberry,” which resembles Reddi-wip dairy whipped topping, and “Twirly Pop,” which not only resembles a Unicorn Pop lollipop but is shipped with one.

FDA, FTC warn companies to stop misleading kids

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

This use by children and teens is especially concerning to the FDA because of evidence that youth exposure to nicotine affects the developing brain and may rewire it to be more susceptible to nicotine addiction in the future. In April, the FDA announced a nationwide blitz of brick-and-mortar and online retailers, and issued warning letters to businesses that sold JUUL brand products to minors. The agency also sent a letter to JUUL Labs requiring the company to submit important documents to better understand the reportedly high rates of youth use and the particular youth appeal of these products. The agency has also expanded “The Real Cost” public education campaign with messages focused on preventing youth use of e-cigarettes and a full-scale campaign is planned for a September launch.


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Posted in: Family safety