The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to five e-cigarette manufacturers for their “utterly flagrant attempt” to market their products to children. The agency has called out 15 e-cigarette products for their designs imitating toys, food or fictional characters, according to a Nov 16 announcement.

The FDA has taken action against Wizman Limited, doing business as Wizvapor; Shenzhen Fumot Technology Co., Ltd., doing business as R and M Vapes; Shenzhen Quawins Technology Co., Ltd; Ruthless Vapor; and Moti Global for marketing e-cigarette products without submitting a premarket application. In addition to being unauthorized, the FDA stated that the products in question were “likely to promote use by youth.”

These products range from e-cigarettes shaped like electronics such as:

  • Glowsticks
  • Nintendo GameBoy systems
  • Walkie-talkies

To TV show characters including cast members of the shows:

  • Baby Bus
  • Family Guy
  • Minions
  • Rick and Morty
  • The Simpsons
  • Squid Game

The agency’s announcement also singled out e-cigarettes meant to imitate the appearance of youth-attractive food items such as popsicles. The FDA has been cracking down on many products believed to appeal to youths in order to sharply reduce the number of minors using e-cigarettes. The agency has also taken action recently against manufacturers of non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes and cigars.

Brian King, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, stated, “It’s a hard sell to suggest that adults using e-cigarettes with the goal of quitting smoking need a cartoon character emblazoned across the front of the product in order to do so successfully.” 

King added that the e-cigarette products are an obvious attempt to appeal to children, and the FDA has made clear in their warning letters that these devices are unlawfully being sold in the United States.

The FDA warning letter informs these companies that they are in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and they are in danger of suffering civil penalties. Some of the FDA’s enforcement actions may include monetary fines, seizure of goods in the U.S., and detainment or refusal of international goods.