• Deanna Clark-Esposito

Vape Shops: Here's 3 FDA Related Tasks to Do in 2019 if You Haven’t Already Done Them


As business owners thinking about what is to come in 2019, you are more likely focused on matters like new product offerings, increased revenue, marketing avenues, and potential hiring decisions and less concerned with what may be on the by with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Fortunately, you’ve got this magazine and myself thinking about it for you. Given what I see as “trending” with the FDA, here are 3 areas to pay attention to and implement if you didn’t get a chance to do so in 2018.


1. Rid Yourself of Any Product Names That Sound Too Kid Friendly


We all saw what happened to a handful of companies this year which were called out by FDA in a very public way. Public embarrassment aside, they also received a warning letter for selling nicotine-containing e-liquids used in e-cigarettes with labeling and/or advertising that caused them to resemble kid-friendly food products, like cereal, candy, and peanut butter and jelly. As it pertained to one company, FDA specifically stated the products outlined in the warning letter included, “Cereal Treats Crunch,” which “resembles Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal products; ‘Cereal Treats Loopz,’ which looks like Froot Loops cereal; ‘Cereal Treats Charms,’ which resembles Lucky Charms cereal products; and ‘Cereal Treats Krispies,’ which looks like Rice Krispies Treats cereal.” Many of these products also contained cartoon characters on their labeling and/or advertising which was likewise frowned upon by FDA.


“We’re seeing too many cases where companies are designing e-liquid products in packages that resemble children’s food items and this sort of egregious marketing can lead to accidental ingestion of potentially lethal doses of nicotine by young kids. There’s no excuse for this sort of packaging and we’ll continue to target these products and the companies that market them,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “FDA will also continue to implement new steps to make sure children aren’t started down a path to nicotine addiction and tobacco use. Those include actions to target those who design products in ways that are clearly marketed to appeal to children. No child should be using any tobacco product. We’ll continue to hold industry accountable to ensure these products aren’t being marketed to, sold to or used by kids.”


FDA has ramped up its effort to protect kids from tobacco products and so this issue is very much on their radar when it comes to enforcement. This means that if you need to make some business changes in this regard, the time to do so is now.


2. Have a “a Tobacco Product” Retailer Training Guide on FDA Law


When it comes to youth and the sale of tobacco and vape products, FDA laws are designed to reduce their level of access to them, and ideally their attractiveness as well. FDA views retailers as playing an important role in this effort. The purpose of a Tobacco Product Retailer Training Guide is to provide you with protocols for training your staff and managers in the sale of vape and other FDA regulated merchandise. It should set forth the actions your business is taking to incorporate the FDA legal framework into your day-to-day business operations, and to meet your FDA compliance obligations, which includes not selling to underage purchasers. If you’d like an outline for putting this type of guide together, send me an email requesting one by Feb. 28, 2019, and I’ll send it to you (you can also use our Contact form on the Home page).


3. Train Your Employees


Ever heard of the training program “WeCard” (www.wecard.org)?

Management and employees should receive comprehensive training on FDA laws governing restrictions on retail sales and distribution, procedures for sampling products, and methods for reporting incidents that occur at your location or with products sold by you. In addition, limitations on promotions and advertising, including your company’s social media policy, and the state law equivalents of all of these federal FDA laws should form a part of your training.


Any staff training should include what constitutes a valid photo identification, how to determine its validity and detect a fake, altered, or otherwise invalid identification, and provide methods for refusing or denying the sale of a tobacco product to someone without proper identification or, to a minor.


Have questions? Connect with us using the Contact form on the Home page.

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