FDA Fines Retailers for Selling Youth Appealing E-Cigarettes

The agency filed civil money penalties against 22 retailers and sent out a further 168 warning letters.

September 29, 2023

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued complaints for civil money penalties (CMPs) against 22 retailers for the illegal sale of Elf Bar/EB Design e-cigarettes, according to an FDA news release.  The FDA 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 FDA has been abundantly clear that we are committed to using the full scope of our authorities, as appropriate, to hold those who break the law accountable,” said Brian King, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “These retailers were duly warned of what could happen if they failed to correct their violations.”

The complaints seek the maximum civil money penalty of $19,192 for a single violation from each retailer. While the FDA has issued civil money penalty complaints to retailers for selling unauthorized tobacco products in the past, this is the first time the agency is seeking CMPs for the maximum amount against retailers for this type of violation, the agency said.

The FDA said the 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. Those that do not take action within 30 days after receiving the complaint risk a default order imposing the full penalty amount.

In addition to these CMP complaints, the FDA announced it sent an additional 168 warning letters to brick-and-mortar retailers for illegally selling Elf Bar/EB Design products. These warning letters were the result of a coordinated nationwide retailer inspection effort conducted throughout the month of August.

"We continue to monitor closely all those in the supply chain, including retailers, for compliance with federal law,” said Ann Simoneau, director of the Office of Compliance and Enforcement in the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “This includes follow-up inspections and surveillance of those who have received a warning letter, and taking additional action, as appropriate, to enforce the law.”