“We’re not going to stand by as bad actors are profiting off the sale of illegal products that are addicting our nation’s youth,” declared Brian King, director of the FDA’s Tobacco Center, signaling a new era of regulatory action against the vaping industry.
Recent developments have seen a series of crackdowns on disposable vape products in the U.S. and U.K.
What HappenedIn response to a nearly 50% surge in e-cigarette sales between 2020 and 2022, the FDA has authorized the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to seize shipments of unauthorized brands at U.S. ports, reported AP News.
This move enables the detention of any disposal vape products lacking proper marketing authorization at the border, effectively stifling the illegal influx. In doing so, the FDA and CBP aim to curb the lure of these products to the country’s youth, targeting particularly those flavored like fruits and candies.
This crackdown raises implications for the cannabis industry as well. Any tobacco company found unlicensed by the CBP could be inferred to be manufacturing products for cannabis consumption, which remains illegal on a federal level.
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Meanwhile, New York City’s Mayor Eric Adams has filed a federal lawsuit against four major distributors of flavored disposable e-cigarettes. “There is nothing more important than the health of young New Yorkers, but while these four distributors have chosen profits over people, we won’t sit idly by as they continue to poison our children,” he said.
The lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York alleges that these distributors have breached “nearly every federal, New York State, and New York City law applicable to the marketing, distribution, and sale of flavored vapes.”
In addition to accusations of mail and wire fraud, the lawsuit points to violations of the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act, highlighting that individuals or businesses selling, transferring or shipping vapes for profit in interstate commerce must register with the ATF and with any states they ship vapes into. In executing this law, the ATF often works in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service and FDA enforcement teams to impede the sales and shipments of vapes to minors.
See Also: Pot Shop Owner To Sue OCM For Raiding His Store Without Warrant, Agency Says It Was Acting Under NY Law
Overseas, the United Kingdom has echoed these sentiments with calls to ban all single-use vapes by 2024.
David Fothergill, chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA)’s Community Wellbeing Board, said, per Reuters: “Disposable vapes are fundamentally flawed in their design and inherently unsustainable products, meaning an outright ban will prove more effective than attempts to recycle more vapes.”
The LGA in England and Wales has highlighted the environmental concerns posed by disposable vapes, citing litter problems, fire hazards and their strong appeal to children as key issues. They noted that approximately 1.3 million vapes are discarded each week, supporting the call for an outright ban by 2024.
The global “War on Vapes” continues to unfold and regulators tighten the screws on the industry, we’ll keep our readers informed of the latest developments in the weeks ahead.
This evolving landscape will undoubtedly impact not just the vaping industry but the broader arenas of public health, policy and business.
If you’re interested in delving deeper into this area or exploring the latest trends in the cannabis industry, consider joining us at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Chicago this Sept 27-28 for its 17th edition. Get your tickets today before prices increase and secure a spot at the epicenter of cannabis investment, branding, culture, and where deals get done.
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