True to their word, FDA have conducted their first sting operations on both brick and mortar and online stores, sending kids to attempt to purchase newly regulated products and issuing sternly worded letters to any vendor who let them.
You can find the list of companies that got letters here.
In their letters, FDA warn companies about the provisions that vapour products are now subject to:
“FDA has determined that your e-liquid is misbranded under section 903(a)(7)(B) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. § 387c(a)(7)(B)) because you sold this product to a person younger than 18 years of age” the letters begin.
They go on to explain that during an FDA investigation, a minor was able to purchase eliquid from the store or website. They do not go on to explain exactly how this happened: whether a fake ID was used, for example.
Recipients of these letters were told to write back within 15 days of receipt detailing “corrective actions, including the dates on which you discontinued the violative labeling, advertising, sale, and/or distribution of these tobacco products and your plan for maintaining compliance with the FD&C Act”.
Vaping.com understands that a second violation will lead to a fine, while a third could result in a no-tobacco sale order lasting anything up to a month, something that would cripple any vape business.
One web storeowner, for ePipeMods.com, took part in a conference call with the FDA which he recorded and posted on YouTube. He asked FDA whether use of a fake ID would move liability from store operators, and was told that “there is no provision that makes it illegal for a minor to purchase a regulated tobacco product. Every state has different laws regarding the legality of the minor purchasing”.
Interestingly, no vape shops were caught in the recent stings – unlikely because they were not targeted, but rather thanks t information campaigns targeted at them by organisations like the Vapor Technology Association.
But giant nationwide convenience and pharmacy chains were caught with their pants down. Walgreens stores in Iowa, Missouri and Washington State sold Grape cigars and blu ecig products to minors sent by FDA to test age verification systems, while a 7 Eleven in Washington State was caught selling Mark Ten eliquid to a minor.
Vaping.com uses age verification software from Veritad to ensure that our products are never sold to minors.