Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. According to warning letters from the FDA and FTC, certain sellers of e-liquids – flavorings for e-cigarettes – are using packaging that imitates foods or beverages popular with children. Little kids who ingest what’s inside boxes that appear to be apple juice, cookies, candy, etc., risk acute nicotine toxicity, poisoning that can result in seizure, coma, cardiac and respiratory arrest, and death. But first, you really need to look at these visuals.
Let’s take the example of a product called One Mad Hit Juice Box:
The product on the left is a nicotine-laced liquid for e-cigarettes that can be fatal to kids who ingest as little as a teaspoon. The e-liquid label calls the product a “JUICE BOX,” mimics shelf-stable beverage packaging, and even has an image of one of those little sippy straws on the side of the box. Open it up and it’s apple-scented.
On the right is the genuine beverage parents serve their kids at snack time.
Each of the additional examples below shows the e-liquid on the left and the genuine kid-popular treat on the right. (It should go without saying – which is why we’re saying it – that the companies whose products were mimicked have nothing to with the marketing of the e-liquids.)
The warning letters explain the FDA’s position that the products are misbranded under the Food Drug & Cosmetic Act. They also outline the FTC’s concern about whether the marketers are violating the FTC Act’s prohibition on unfair or deceptive acts or practices. The letters direct the companies to get back to the agencies within 15 days with actions they’re taking to address the issues. Recipients include NEwhere, Inc., ACH Group, LLC, Drip More, LLC, On Cloud Vape, 7 Daze, LLC, Sugoi LLC, Fog It Up, Elite Vaporworks, Omnia E-Liquid, Tinted Brew, Inc., Cosmic Fog Vapors LLC, Warrender Enterprises, and Ultimate Vape Deals.
The warning letters cite U.S. Code provisions and FTC caselaw, but they really boil down to two basic points for business:
- Don’t use marketing methods that put children at risk.
- Will you help us by spreading the word in your community and through your social networks about the danger this kind of packaging poses to little kids?