FDA Files More Fines Against Retailers for Selling E-Cigarettes

The agency filed civil money penalties against 25 retailers and has sent out a total of over 400 warning letters.

December 08, 2023

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued complaints for civil money penalties (CMPs) against 25 brick-and-mortar and online retailers for the illegal sale of Elf Bar, EB Design and other e-cigarette products, according to an FDA news release. The FDA said that it previously sent each retailer a warning letter to stop selling unauthorized tobacco products but found during follow-up inspections that the retailers had not corrected the violations.

The e-cigarette products that were the focus of these complaints are especially popular among youth, the FDA stated. According to findings from the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey, Elf Bar was the most commonly used brand among middle and high school students who reported using e-cigarettes at nearly 57%.

The complaints seek the maximum civil money penalty of $19,192 for a single violation from each retailer. Retailers can pay the penalty, enter into a settlement agreement, request an extension of time to file an answer to the complaint or file an answer and request a hearing, said the FDA. Those that do not take action within 30 days after receiving the complaint risk a default order imposing the full penalty amount.

This filing brings the total number of CMPs the FDA has filed against retailers for the sale of unauthorized e-cigarettes to 67. In September and November, the FDA sought CMPs for similar amounts against 42 brick-and-mortar retailers across 18 states for the sale of unauthorized Elf Bar products. This round of filings includes retailers across 14 states.

As of December 5, 2023, the FDA has issued more than 400 warning letters to retailers for selling unauthorized tobacco products.