The U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) collaborated with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to seize approximately 1.4 million units of unauthorized e-cigarette products. The three-day joint operation was conducted at a cargo examination site at Los Angeles International Airport.
“The FDA is committed to continuing to stem the flow of illegal e-cigarettes into the United States,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. “Unscrupulous companies try everything they can to bring unauthorized, youth-appealing tobacco products into the country. The FDA will remain vigilant, and together with our federal partners, stop these imports before they make it into the hands of our nation’s youth.”
To prepare for the joint operation, the team worked for months to review shipping invoices, identify potentially violative incoming shipments and complete other investigative work for this case.
“This enforcement action is a prime example of CBP’s commitment to keeping our communities safe by disrupting the importation of illegal goods into our country,” said Troy A. Miller, senior official performing the duties of the commissioner for CBP. “The rise in illicit e-commerce demands that our agencies remain vigilant in intercepting shipments that could pose serious health risks to the public, including youth, while disrupting the supply chains that bring them to our borders.”
Upon examining the shipments, all of which came from China, the team found a variety of illegal flavored disposable e-cigarette products.
Brands included in the seizure were Elf Bar, EB Create products, Lost Mary, Funky Republic, RELX Pod and IPLAY Max, among others. To evade duties and detection, many of these unauthorized e-cigarettes were intentionally mis-declared as various items such as toys or shoes and listed with incorrect values.
This December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued complaints for civil money penalties (CMPs) against 25 brick-and-mortar and online retailers for the illegal sale of Elf Bar, EB Design and other e-cigarette products.
This filing brings the total number of CMPs the FDA has filed against retailers for the sale of unauthorized e-cigarettes to 67. In September and November, the FDA sought CMPs for similar amounts against 42 brick-and-mortar retailers across 18 states for the sale of unauthorized Elf Bar products. This round of filings includes retailers across 14 states.