E-cigarette liquids looking too kid friendly, FDA says

The FDA provided side-by-side comparisons of some of the e-cigarette liquids to the products they resemble

The FDA provided side-by-side comparisons of some of the e-cigarette liquids to the products they resemble

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission issued more than a dozen warning letters Tuesday to companies that misleadingly labeled or advertised nicotine-containing e-liquids as kid friendly food products such as juice boxes, sweets and cookies.

USA regulators issued warnings to 13 companies selling e-cigarette liquids for using child-friendly images in their packaging, in the latest crackdown aimed at preventing tobacco sales to minors.

The warning letters cover eight different products.

The use of e-cigarettes and vaping increased among teens 900 percent from 2011 to 2015, and half a million middle school students admitted to using them, according to a report by the United States Surgeon General.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. said side-by-side comparisons between e-liquids and actual sweet treats are "alarming". In Tuesday's statement, the FDA said National Poison Data System data show that there were 8269 e-cigarette and liquid nicotine exposures among children younger than 6 years between January 2012 and April 2017. "It is easy to see how a child could confuse these e-liquid products for something they believe they've consumed before - like a juice box".

Illegal selling of the products to minors also was cited for several of the manufacturers, distributors and retailers, according to a press release from the agencies. If a kid mistakes vaping liquid for something like a juice box, it could "result in serious harm or even death". Small children who are exposed to e-cigarette liquid or ingest it can die from cardiac arrest, as well as experience seizures, comas and respiratory arrest.

The move follows an FDA sting operation that resulted in 40 warning letters last week to retailers that sold kids Juul e-cigarettes, the latest craze in underage tobacco use.

Juul e-cigarettes look like computer flash drives and have become a favorite of teenagers.

"The e-liquid boxes not only look like these foods [that young children already consume], they carry their scent", she added during the media briefing.

The companies have 15 days to respond to the FDA.

FDA says it might file injunctions or seize products if the companies don't take action to address regulators' concerns.

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