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The federal government on Monday ordered a fruity-flavored vaping product popular with teenagers to be pulled from the market because the manufacturer never received permission to sell it.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent warning letters to the manufacturer of Puff Bar vapes and nine other companies, telling them to remove their flavored disposable e-cigarettes and “youth-appealing e-liquid products” from the market within 15 days.

Puff Bar flavors include watermelon, strawberry banana, pink lemonade and sour apple. The other companies were cited for marketing e-cigarettes or liquid flavors that are directly marketed at and appeal to children. Some imitate packaging for Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, Twinkies and Cherry Coke, while others feature cartoon characters.

The move comes months after public health advocates and many lawmakers warned that disposable e-cigarettes were a gigantic loophole in the administration’s ban on certain e-cigarette flavors. 

The administration’s flavored vaping product guidance, which took effect in February, was primarily aimed at Juul. It narrowly banned popular cartridge-based fruit and mint flavors but not tobacco and menthol.

Disposable e-cigarettes, open tank systems and e-liquids of any flavor, including those mixed in vape shops, also remained available under the policy.

Disposable e-cigarettes are generally cheaper than the other products, and rapidly gained popularity among young people as regulators cracked down on other devices. 

“We are concerned about the popularity of these products among youth and want to make clear to all tobacco product manufacturers and retailers that, even during the ongoing pandemic, the FDA is keeping a close watch on the marketplace and will hold companies accountable,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in a statement. 

Failure to correct violations may result in further action such as a civil money penalty complaint, seizure or injunction, the agency said. 

Tags e-cigarettes FDA vaping

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