Regulation

FDA Cracking Down On Online Sales Of E-Cigarettes

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has begun cracking down on the online sale of e-cigarettes to minors, according to The Wall Street Journal.

According to the report, the FDA issued 24 letters to websites warning them of potential violations since the agency banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors on Aug. 8. The FDA also sent warning letters to 28 cigar and e-cigarette retailers and three websites that sell cigars.

Those who received warning letters have 15 days to respond to the FDA and explain their plans to prevent sales of the banned e-cigarettes to minors; those who continually violate the FDA’s ban will be fined $275.

Retailers who received warnings from the FDA included gas stations, convenience stores and drugstores, although no vape shops were warned about selling to minors, according to WSJ. Most stores were cited for selling flavored cigars, such as Swisher Sweets and Black & Mild, to minors.

Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, told WSJ that vape shops are still confused over how to comply with the FDA’s guidelines because the agency has yet to provide guidelines for how online retailers can prevent sales to minors.

Since the FDA has assumed oversight of the e-cigarette industry, vape shop owners fear stringent regulations could drive them out of business. Vape shops and the liquid nicotine they sell account for about $1.4 billion of the $4 billion estimated e-cigarette market, according to data provided by Wells Fargo.

The FDA assumed oversight of tobacco products in 2009 and has performed about 660,000 inspections of retailers since. It has issued about 48,900 warning letters and 8,290 fines, according to WSJ.

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