The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stopped the sale of 15 child-friendly e-cigarettes in the form of toys and with popular cartoon characters.
Five companies are accused of using popular footage from TV shows such as The Simpsons, Squid Game, Rick and Morty and Family Guy to market the vape to children and teens.
Other devices flagged by the FDA are shaped like Nintendo Gameboys, popsicles, bananas, or signature animals from children’s cartoons like BabyBus.
A report released last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 2.6 million American middle and high school students use e-cigarettes.
The five manufacturers warned on Wednesday — Wizvapor, R and M Vapes, Shenzen Quawins, Ruthless Vapor and Moti Global — are based in China, Canada and Hong Kong. They must immediately stop selling the products in the US.
Dr. Brian King, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said that “the designs of these products are an utterly blatant attempt to target children.”
It is yet another example of the agency cracking down on teen vaping use in America as use of the devices reaches near-epidemic levels.
More than four in five teen vapers reported using flavored devices — which the FDA has also cracked down on marketing to kids in recent years.
The FDA reports that it has now issued about 500 warning letters to companies accused of selling illegally marketed tobacco products.
The FDA warned five companies, accusing them of marketing their vape products to children and teens by molding them like toys or putting cartoon characters on the packaging
Tobacco use among 11- to 18-year-olds is up nearly a quarter from last year, estimates show. However, the GGD warns against the comparison because in 2021 the investigations had to be done from home due to the pandemic. This may have influenced the results
“The FDA is committed to keeping tobacco products out of the hands of our nation’s youth,” Dr. King said.
“The agency will continue to hold companies accountable for illegally selling e-cigarettes, particularly those blatantly targeting youth.”
In each letter, the agency notes that companies deemed “new” manufacturers of tobacco products — meaning they entered the market after 2007 — must receive agency approval to sell flavored tobacco products.
The system, introduced last year, requires companies to submit a detailed plan to the FDA to prevent their products from getting into the hands of children.
Products separate from FDA warning about marketing vapes to children
- Puff boy
- My Beeper 2.0
- Walkie Vape
Shenzhen Fumot Technology Products:
- RandM Max Pro disposable device
- RandM Squid Bar disposable device
- RandM Squid Box disposable device
- RandM Switch 2in1 disposable device
- RandM Dazzle RGB Glowing disposable vape pod device
- RandM Dazzle Pro RGB Dazzle Pro RGB Glowing disposable vape pod device
Shenzhen Quawins Products:
- VFUN Rainbow Flashlight Disposable Set
- VFUN PLUS D1 disposable set
- VFUN D2 disposable set
- Cocktail D1 PV Panda Dual Flavor Disposable Set
Ruthless Vapor Products:
- Mango Banana Ice Cream TFN Disposable
- Banana ice cream TFN Disposable
- Strawberry Banana Ice Cream TFN Disposable
Moti Global Products:
- MOTI POPI Sumptuous disposable ice cream
- MOTI POPI Disposable Juicy Grape
- MOTI POPI Disposable Strawberry Ice Cream
Because of this policy, the popular Juul products were pulled from US markets in June. They are allowed to remain on the market temporarily as long as the company’s appeal is ongoing.
Vapes are not allowed to be purchased by Americans under the age of 21, same age restriction for cigarettes and alcohol.
Many kids still manage to get their hands on the devices, either through fake IDs, lax policies at smoke shops, or because they were bought by someone else.
Ruthless Vapor is based in Ontario, Canada. The FDA lists its banana-shaped disposables as products marketed to children.
They are sold in flavors such as mango banana ice cream, banana ice cream and strawberry banana ice cream.
Wizman Limited, trading as Wizvapor, is a Hong Kong-based company accused by the FDA of selling tobacco products without approval.
The agency reports that the “Puff Boy,” “Mini-Beeper 2.0,” and “Walkie Vape” products are all available for U.S. consumers to purchase from the company’s online store.
These devices also mimic the look of a classic Nintendo Gameboy, beeper, and walkie-talkie.
R and M Vapes, which is part of the Shenzhen Fumot Technology company based in China, also belongs to the brand name and is shamed these days.
The products were found to use packaging and devices featuring characters from “The Simpsons,” “Squid Game,” “Family Guy,” and “Rick and Morty.”
China-based Shenzen Quawins Technology is also under fire from the FDA.
The company is accused of selling products that resemble glow sticks and contain characters from the Chinese cartoon BabyBus.
The latter is a popular YouTube channel with cartoons for children from six months old.
Finally, Moti Global is another Chinese company that has received a warning from America’s leading regulatory body.
It was warned about its “lush ice,” “juicy grape,” and “strawberry ice” vapes in the form of popsicles.
Many companies that produce vapes market them under the guise that they are aids to help someone get rid of cigarettes. However, the FDA says otherwise.
“It’s hard to suggest that adults using e-cigarettes to quit smoking need a cartoon character on the front of the product to do so successfully,” said Dr. King.
If the companies alerted by the FDA do not stop selling the products without regulatory approval, the agency warns of “actions such as an injunction, seizure and/or civil fines.”
The warnings come after a joint study by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 3 million American teens use tobacco products.
This is a 20 percent increase from the previous year, fueled primarily by a 25 percent increase in e-cigarette use among the age group.
Students who used the drugs were most likely to perform poorly in school or identify as part of the LGBT community.