ORLANDO, Fla. – With 11 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24 admitting to using e-cigarettes, this is an important warning. According to FOX 35, the Florida Retail Federation is sounding the alarm on black-market vaping products that could be laced with fentanyl.
“It’s a great threat to our youth, and these are products that have not undergone any FDA scrutiny–no testing and no safety mechanism,” Florida Retail Federation CEO told FOX 35.
Several instances of fentanyl-laced vapes have recently been reported across the United States, including the case of Zach Corona. Zach’s mother, Lynda Amos, has told several news outlets that her 13-year-old son suffered a stroke and has permanent brain damage after smoking a fentanyl-laced vape.
In response to the escalating concern, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has launched efforts to combat the illegal e-cigarette market. The FDA recently issued warning letters to 189 retailers found selling unauthorized tobacco products during a nationwide inspection.
“All players in the supply chain–including retailers–have a role in keeping illegal e-cigarettes off the shelves. This latest blitz should be a wake-up call for retailers of Elf Bar and Esco Bars products nationwide. If they’re waiting for a personal invitation to comply with the law, they might just get it in the form of a warning letter or other action from the FDA,” Brian King, the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said.
The FDA has authorized 23 tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products and devices, yet CBS News reports that the number of e-cig devices sold in the U.S. has nearly tripled to more than 9,000 since 2020. A significant portion of this surge is driven by unauthorized disposable vapes imported from China. Consequently, the FDA has issued more than 570 warning letters to firms for manufacturing, selling and/or distributing illegal tobacco products, along with filed civil money penalty complaints against 12 e-cig manufacturers.
“Remember any substance sold on the black market could contain fentanyl. It’s in counterfeit pills, cocaine, meth and possibly in illicit vaping products,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody told FOX 35.