U.S. Customs, FDA Seize Counterfeit E-Cigarettes

The flavored pods resembled Puff Bar products and were valued at more than $719,000.

January 15, 2021

WASHINGTON—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport working in conjunction with agents from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seized 33,681 units of e-cigarettes valued at $719,453.

In December 2020, CBP confiscated 42 separate shipments arriving from China destined to various Texas counties. The shipments included individual disposable flavored e-cigarette cartridges resembling the Puff Bar brand, including Puff XXL and Puff Flow.

“Many counterfeit, unapproved or unauthorized products are likely produced in unregulated facilities with unverified ingredients posing a serious health concern to consumers. It is especially alarming when these types of counterfeit and unauthorized products find their way into the hands of children as studies indicate,” said CBP Port Director Timothy Lemaux in a press release. “We will continue to take every opportunity to work with our partners at the FDA to intercept and seize products that threaten U.S. consumers.”

As part of an ongoing joint operation with the FDA, officers and agents looked to intercept counterfeit or other violative e-cigarettes, including certain flavored e-cigarettes imported to the United States that did not meet the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) requirements, as amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act).

“The FDA continues to prioritize enforcement against e-cigarette products, specifically those most appealing and accessible to youth,” said Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “We are very concerned about how popular these products are with youth. This seizure makes clear to tobacco product manufacturers, retailers and importers that the FDA is keeping a close watch on the marketplace and will hold accountable those companies that violate tobacco laws and regulations.”

CBP’s trade enforcement mission places a significant emphasis on intercepting illicit products that could harm American consumers. In fiscal year 2020, CBP seized 93,590 units of e-cigarettes that did not meet U.S. federal regulations.

In July 2020, the FDA issued a warning letter to Cool Clouds Distribution Inc. (doing business as Puff Bar), to remove its flavored disposable e-cigarettes and youth-appealing e-liquid products from the market because they do not have the required premarket authorization.