FDA, Justice Department form new task force to crack down on illegal e-cigarette sales-Waukeshahealthinsurance.com

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Federal health officials are working with the U.S. Department of Justice to combat the sale and distribution of illegal electronic cigarettes.

The US Food and Drug Administration and the Justice Department announced Monday that they are forming a task force to attack the case. The task force is made up of people from the US Marshals Service, the US Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Trade Commission and other agencies to identify and target the sale and distribution of illegal electronic cigarettes.

“Illicit e-cigarettes and vaping products continue to endanger the health of Americans, especially children and adolescents,” said Justice Department Acting Associate Attorney General Benjamin Mizer. He said in a news release. Monday.

“This interagency task force is committed to protecting Americans by combating the illegal sale and distribution of these products,” Mizer said. “The establishment of this task force makes it clear that strong enforcement of tobacco laws is a statewide priority.”

When the FDA gives permission to sell 23 unique tobacco flavored e-cigarette products and devices To date, many unauthorized e-cigarettes have appeared illegally on the market, some of which appeal to minors.

More than 1 in 10 young people in the United States use e-cigarettes regularly. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. of 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey About 2.1 million youths currently report using e-cigarettes.

Under current regulations, new tobacco products must obtain marketing authorization from the FDA before they can be sold. Existing e-cigarette products are allowed to remain on the market, but the agency requires manufacturers to submit applications to keep them there.

The new federal task force will be involved in a variety of matters, “including the investigation and prosecution of new criminal, civil, seizure and misdemeanor violations,” according to the news release, and violations can “result in severe criminal convictions and substantial criminal penalties and civil monetary penalties.” ” as well as seizures of unauthorized products.

“Enforcement against illegal e-cigarettes is an issue that requires a multifaceted response,” Dr. Brian King, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, said in a news release. “This 'whole of government' approach — including the creation of this new task force — will bring the federal government's collective resources and experience to bear on this critical public health issue.”

The creation of this new task force comes after the FDA issued more than 1,100 Warning letters For many distributors, manufacturers, importers and retailers to illegally sell or distribute unauthorized tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. In December, the FDA announced the seizure 1.4 million units of unauthorized e-cigarette products.

The U.S. Marshals Service's Asset Forfeiture Division is ready to work with our task force partners to seize e-cigarettes seized from local distributors seeking to sell them illegally, U.S. Marshals Service Director Ronald Davis said in a news release Monday. .

Meanwhile, the American Lung Association said it welcomes the launch of the new federal task force.

For too long, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers have acted without regard for the law and public health. American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer called for stronger law enforcement measures to hold manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors responsible for selling illegal tobacco products and to protect the health of the public, especially children. he said in a statement. Monday. He added that youth concussions are a “serious” public health concern.

“Most of the illegal e-cigarettes on the market today are flavored products that attract young people,” Wimmer said in part. “The American Lung Association commends the DOJ, FDA and other agencies involved in this task force. Continued and coordinated action is needed to remove illegal and addictive tobacco products from the market.

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