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DOJ files injunction against six e-cigarette makers

The Justice Department has filed a permanent injunction against six separate manufacturers of e-cigarettes, alleging they continue to flout federal rules and guidelines, authorities said on Tuesday. File Photo by Elsa Olofsson/Pixabay
1 of 3 | The Justice Department has filed a permanent injunction against six separate manufacturers of e-cigarettes, alleging they continue to flout federal rules and guidelines, authorities said on Tuesday. File Photo by Elsa Olofsson/Pixabay

Oct. 18 (UPI) -- The Justice Department has filed a permanent injunction against six separate manufacturers of e-cigarettes, alleging they continue to flout federal rules and guidelines, authorities said Tuesday.

The court filings on behalf of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration mark the first time the FDA has initiated injunction proceedings to enforce the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act's premarket review requirements for new tobacco products, the agency said in a statement.

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Under the FD&C Act's parameters, the Justice Department institutes judicial enforcement actions on behalf of the FDA.

Authorities allege Morin Enterprises, doing business as E-Cig Crib in Minnesota; Soul Vapor in West Virginia; Super Vape'z in Washington; Vapor Craft in Georgia, Lucky's Convenience & Tobacco, doing business as Lucky's Vape & Smoke Shop in Kansas and Seditious Vapors, doing business as Butt Out in Arizona, all failed to submit premarket applications for their e-cigarettes.

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All six continue to illegally manufacture and sell their products despite multiple warnings, the FDA contends. The agency said its individual warnings to all six companies, included the fact that further violations could lead to enforcement action, including the injunction.

"Today's enforcement actions represent a significant step for the FDA in preventing tobacco product manufacturers from violating the law," Brian King, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products said in a statement.

"We will not stand by as manufacturers repeatedly break the law, especially after being afforded multiple opportunities to comply."

Health advocates on Tuesday lauded the decision to seek litigation.

"The American Lung Association applauds this action from the DOJ and FDA and urges the Biden administration to continue their work to enforce the law. These companies were warned, but continued to violate the law," American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold Wimmer said in a statement, while calling for further actions to be taken to rein in the new industry.

"There is an urgent need to prevent more kids from becoming addicted to these products and from new flavored products coming onto the marketplace," Wimmer said.

Earlier this month, the FDA published its annual National Youth Tobacco Survey, which found that more than 2.5 million high and middle school students use e-cigarettes.

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The survey said that 27.6% of youth e-cigarette users use an e-cigarette product daily with nearly half reporting using e-cigarettes at least 20 of the last 30 days.

Nearly 85% of youth e-cigarette users also reported using flavored e-cigarette products, it said.

Amanda Wheeler, president of the American Vapor Manufacturers Association, a U.S. trade organization, rebuked the lawsuits in a statement.

"Mr. King seems delighted to kick in doors of small businesses but turns a blind eye to the millions of Americans who rely on nicotine vaping to quit cigarettes. The ongoing result is countless people being driven back to smoking and more hard proof that Mr. King and FDA are failing at their jobs, to the immense harm of their fellow citizens and public health," Wheeler said.

The lawsuits come as the FDA has since January 2021 issued nearly 300 warnings to companies that have more than 17 million e-cigarettes collectively listed with the agency for failure to submit premarket application. The federal agency said most of the companies have complied and removed their products from the market.

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