Cigarette Packages Draw Warning From US Officials Over Marketing

This image provided by the Food and Drug Administration shows an e-liquid nicotine. The US Food and Drug Administration issued warnings Tuesday

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission are cracking down on items that are labeled to look like kid-friendly foods but contain tobacco products.

Some of the products resembled juice boxes, candy and cookies.

Federal regulators warned 13 companies that the way they market liquids used in cigarettes could entice risky ingestion by small children.

According to National Poison Data System data, there were 8,269 e-cigarette and liquid nicotine exposures among children younger than 6 between January 2012 and April 2017, the FDA said.

According to the FDA, e-liquids are unsafe for children and can cause severe reactions including seizures, coma or even death in young children. The agency says children could mistakenly drink the liquids, which are intended for use in e-cigarettes and vaping devices.

The e-cigarettes targeted had labeling and/or advertising that looked like kid-friendly food products, such as juice boxes, candy or cookies, some including cartoon images.

CEO of Lifted Liquids, which received a warning letter - said the company already changed the packaging resembling Warheads sweets in November 2017. "These are preventable accidents that have the potential to result in serious harm or even death".

The companies have 15 days to respond to the FDA.

For children old enough to understand, explain to them that these products can be unsafe and shouldn't be touched.

"Nicotine is highly toxic, and these letters make clear that marketing methods that put kids at risk of nicotine poisoning are unacceptable", Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen, said in the release.

The FDA says it might file injunctions or seize products if the companies don't take action to address regulators' concerns. Other products include "Whip'd Strawberry", which resembles Reddi-wip dairy whipped topping, and "Twirly Pop", which not only resembles a Unicorn Pop lollipop but is shipped with one.

The move follows an FDA sting operation that resulted in 40 warning letters last week to retailers that sold kids Juul e-cigarettes, the latest craze in underage tobacco use.

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