FDA has issued complaints for civil money penalties (CMPs) against 21 brick and mortar retailers for the sale of unauthorized Esco Bars e-cigarettes, a popular youth-appealing brand. FDA previously issued each retailer a warning letter for their sale of unauthorized tobacco products. However, follow-up inspections revealed that the retailers had failed to correct the violations, and the agency is now seeking the maximum penalty amount of $20,678 from each retailer.
The complaints announced today represent the first set of CMPs FDA has filed for the sale of unauthorized Esco Bars e-cigarettes. Data indicate these products are appealing to U.S. youth. According to the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey, Esco Bars were the second most commonly used brand among youth e-cigarette users; among middle and high school students who reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, about 1 in 5 said they used Esco Bars products during that period.
“These retailers were duly warned of what could happen if they continued selling these unauthorized e-cigarettes,” said Brian King, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “They should have acted responsibly to correct the violations, but they chose not to do so and now must face the consequences of that decision. FDA won’t sit back and tolerate inaction to comply with the law.”