The FDA asked the DOJ to step in after being told it wasn’t doing enough to enforce rules about vaping.
The Food and Drug Administration just took its first legal action against companies it says are selling illegal e-cigarettes. After being criticized for not doing enough to keep illegal vapes off the market, the agency asked the Department of Justice to file injunctions against six manufacturers, which would stop them from selling the products.
The head of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, Brian King, said in a statement, “We will not stand by while manufacturers break the law over and over again, especially after they have had multiple chances to comply.”
Before a company can sell tobacco products like vapes and e-cigarettes, it has to get permission from the FDA. Over the past year, the agency has received hundreds of applications from companies that make cigarettes. It has approved a small number of those applications and turned down most of the others.
Even so, many businesses kept making and selling new products without going through the FDA’s process. So far, the government has only sent warning letters to companies that it believes are violating the law. According to the statement, it has sent out nearly 300 of these letters so far. But most of the time, these letters haven’t worked. Stat News looked into this and found that more than half of the products named in the warning letters were still for sale this summer.
The FDA says that the six companies facing injunctions had been warned, but they kept selling e-cigarettes without permission. Minnesota, West Virginia, Washington, Georgia, Kansas, and Arizona are the locations of the enterprises.
The injunctions show that the FDA is changing how it monitors vapes and e-cigarettes, and they could be a warning to other companies in the same situation. The agency has other ways to enforce the law, such as the power to give monetary fines.
A consent decree, if agreed upon by all six companies facing injunctions, would “prohibit them from directly or indirectly manufacturing, selling, or distributing any new tobacco products unless certain requirements are met.” The FDA’s green light is a must for any new items. If the companies refuse to cooperate, the government can ask the courts to stop them from producing and selling the goods.