DOJ, FDA Expand Efforts to Combat Unauthorized E-Cigarette Sales

A federal multi-agency task force has been created.

June 11, 2024

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have created a federal multi-agency task force that is focused on combatting the illegal distribution and sale of e-cigarettes.

Along with the FDA and the DOJ, the task force will bring together multiple law enforcement partners, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS); the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS); and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to “coordinate and streamline efforts to bring all available criminal and civil tools to bear against the illegal distribution and sale of e-cigarettes responsible for nicotine addiction among American youth,” the FDA said in a statement.

Additional agencies may join the task force in the coming weeks and months.

“Enforcement against illegal e-cigarettes is a multi-pronged issue that necessitates a multi-pronged response,” said Dr. Brian King, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “This ‘All Government’ approach—including the creation of this new Task Force—will bring the collective resources and experience of the federal government to bear on this pressing public health issue.”

A statement from the FDA said that the federal task force will focus on several topics, including investigating and prosecuting new criminal, civil, seizure and forfeiture actions under the PACT Act; the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), as amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (TCA); and other authorities.

Through their participation in the task force, USMS will help the FDA and the DOJ effectuate seizures of unauthorized e-cigarettes within the United States.

As of April 2024, the FDA has issued more than 550 warning letters and 108 CMPs to retailers, including brick-and-mortar and online retailers, for selling unauthorized tobacco products. In addition to actions involving retailers, FDA has issued more than 670 warning letters to manufacturers, importers and distributors for illegally selling and/or distributing unauthorized new tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.