FDA, DOJ Unveil New Task Force to Combat Illegal Distribution and Sale of E-Cigarettes in the US

By Trisha Andrada

Jun 11, 2024 04:56 AM EDT

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Monday, June 10, the formation of a task force to combat the illegal distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes.

The task force will consist of several government agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the US Marshals Service, and the US Postal Inspection Service. 

The FDA and DOJ announced the creation of a task force to tackle the illegal sale of electronic cigarettes.  (Photo : EZEQUIEL BECERRA/AFP via Getty Images)

Illegal E-Cigarettes, Vaping Products Continue to Harm People's Health

In a press release on Monday, Benjamin Mizer, Acting Associate Attorney General for the Justice Department, highlighted the fact that the health of Americans, especially children and adolescents, is being threatened by unauthorized e-cigarettes and vaping products nationwide.

Mizer said the interagency task force is committed to safeguarding Americans by addressing this public health issue. He noted that this move also demonstrates the government-wide priority of vigorously enforcing tobacco laws.

The Justice Department said the new federal task force will focus on several issues, "including investigating and prosecuting new criminal, civil, seizure, and forfeiture actions." According to CNN, violators may face felony charges, significant criminal and civil monetary fines, and the confiscation of illegal products.

Read Also: Tobacco Companies Employing a Myriad of Tactics to Attract Young People to Use Vapes, WHO Says

Many Illegal E-Cigarettes Still Available for Purchase

Several illegal e-cigarettes have made it into the US market, and some of them are made to lure kids. The FDA has only approved 23 distinct e-cigarette brands and devices with a tobacco flavor.

recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that among American youth, more than 10% routinely use e-cigarettes.

Nearly 2.1 million young people said they use electronic cigarettes at the moment, according to the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey. Current laws require the FDA to provide marketing authorization for every new tobacco product before it can be marketed.

The FDA has encouraged makers of existing e-cigarette products to apply for this authorization to keep these items on the market. Last December, about 1.4 million illegal e-cigarette goods were confiscated by the agency.

Read More: Juul Ban Reversal Announced by FDA, Saying E-Cigarette Brand Back Under Agency Review

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