Subcommittee Chair Krishnamoorthi Demands FDA Enforce Vaping Rules Against Disposable E-Cigarette Company Puff Bar
Washington, D.C. (June 1, 2020)—Today, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a letter pressing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to exercise its full legal authority to immediately clear the market of all flavored e-cigarette products sold by a company known as Puff Bar.
“Puff Bar is quickly becoming the new JUUL. It is cheap and brightly colored, resembles a JUUL device, and comes in kid-friendly flavors like Mango, Banana Ice, Pink Lemonade, Blue Razz, and O.M.G.,” wrote Chairman Krishnamoorthi. “You owe it to the public health to act now, particularly in light of evidence demonstrating how e-cigarettes lead to worse outcomes for coronavirus patients.”
Puff Bar appears to be in direct violation of FDA’s deeming rule and subject to enforcement action. On May 16, 2018, FDA deemed e-cigarettes to be “tobacco products” subject to FDA’s authority and enforcement action. This rule set a grace period for enforcement for products on the market as of August 8, 2016, but barred any new e-cigarettes without FDA approval. Puff Bar states on its website that it was “Founded in 2019 in Los Angeles, CA.”
Puff Bar also appears to be:
- Actively marketing directly to kids;
- Making unapproved modified risk claims; and
- Marketing as a smoking cessation device without authorization.
Puff Bar has been distributing advertisements with a “solo break” theme, an image of a bedroom, and a message to “escape … parental texts.” The advertisement is designed to convince children home from school, during the coronavirus pandemic, to vape in their rooms without their parents noticing.
Although it does not appear that Puff Bar has obtained FDA approval, the company has been making multiple modified risk claims by stating that its product is safer than cigarettes. For example, in an official blog post on Puff Bar’s website, the company states: “Puff Bar was founded with three core values in mind: simplicity, value, and offering a healthier alternative to cigarettes.”
Likewise, Puff Bar is portraying its product as a smoking cessation device. For example, on its website, Puff Bar states: “The most important thing Puff Bar aims to do is help people quit smoking cigarettes.”
Puff Bar is also selling a product, Puff Krush, that appears to be a new tobacco product specifically designed to circumvent FDA’s partial flavor ban. Puff Krush can be added to other vaping devices, converting them into flavored products.
When FDA decided to allow disposable e-cigarettes to continue to be sold in kid-friendly flavors, FDA’s Director of the Center for Tobacco Products, Mitch Zeller, stated: “Let’s be clear: Under this policy, if we see a product that is targeted to kids, we will take action.”
“Now is the time to put those bold words into action,” added Krishnamoorthi.
The Subcommittee previously wrote to FDA about the dangers in not pursing action against Puff Bar on March 6, 2020. The Subcommittee requests FDA’s response to today’s letter by June 12, 2020.
Click here to read the letter.