Big Win Against Tobacco: U.S. Agencies Seize Over $18 Million Worth of Illegal E-Cigarettes

February 14th, 2024

In a significant win for public health, a joint federal operation successfully seized 1.4 million e-cigarettes worth more than $18 million last December. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other federal agencies led the operation to address the serious concerns surrounding the unregulated vape market. The operation involved coordinated actions across multiple states, targeting the underground network responsible for manufacturing and distributing illegal e-cigarettes and finally seizing the illegal products at the Los Angeles International Airport.

Why Were They Seized?

The vape products skipped normal required regulatory checks and were found to pose a threat to people’s health. The lack of quality control and adherence to safety standards raised serious concerns about the potential harm these products, particularly the flavored products, could cause if they were to be sold/distributed.

The vaping industry is under scrutiny for its role in contributing to nicotine addiction and health issues, especially among young people. One of the brands seized was Elf Bar, the most commonly used brand among youth who vape, according to the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey. 

Flavored vape products overwhelmingly appeal to youth. According to the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey, nearly nine of every ten vape users under 18 use flavored products, with fruit flavors being the most popular, followed by candy, desserts or other sweets, mint, and menthol. 

Support for E-Cigarette and Other Tobacco Users

Tobacco Free Colorado and the Colorado QuitLine provide free support to anyone who’s ready to quit e-cigarettes, vapes, or other tobacco products. 

Individuals who enroll through the QuitLine are eligible to receive eight weeks of FREE nicotine replacement products in the form of patches, gum, or lozenges. 

Furthermore, those who are trying to quit menthol products can receive up to 16 weeks of free nicotine replacement products and $50 in gift cards for participating in phone coaching calls. The incentive structure includes $10 for the first call, $15 for the second call, and $25 upon completing the third coaching call. This initiative provides practical support for those seeking to quit menthol products and acknowledges the effort and commitment people put into their cessation journey.