FDA targets e-cig liquids that look like grape soda and other kid-friendly foods

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The Food and Drug Administration is targeting e-cigarette liquids that look like food and drinks.

The agency is issuing four warning letters to manufacturers and retailers for selling e-liquids with labeling and or advertising that cause them to resemble kid-friendly food products. This is in addition to the 13 warning letters the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission issued last week.

“Companies putting children at risk or enticing youth use are on notice. If you target kids, then we’re going to target you,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

Products outlined include “Frank ‘N Vape,” which resembles Franken Berry cereal, “Chill Purple Grape,” which looks like a soda can, and “Unicorn Cakes,” which includes images of unicorns eating pancakes that mimic illustrations in “My Little Pony,” a popular kids TV series and toy brand.

Young children who are exposed to nicotine in e-cigarettes can experience seizure, coma and even death. There were 8,269 e-cigarette and liquid nicotine exposures among children younger than 6 between January 2012 and April 2017, according to a recent analysis of data from the National Poison Data System.

E-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular among young people, especially the brand Juul. The FDA has welcomed these products as ways to help adult smokers quit cigarettes, but it has taken actions to try and crack down on underage use of them.

Selling products that appeal to kids, like the ones targeted in the FDA’s warning letters, hurt the e-cigarette industry and those seeking to quit smoking, Gottlieb said in a statement.

“Efforts to encourage the innovation of novel and potentially less harmful products such as e-cigarettes for currently addicted adult smokers will be severely undermined if bad actors put youth at risk in this fashion,” he said.

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