Lawmakers Say Puff Bar Used Pandemic to Market to Teens

Lawmakers Say Puff Bar Used Pandemic to Market to Teens


But the company has not been under the radar. Tobacco-control advocates, including educators, organizations like Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes and others, have been concerned about Puff Bar since it turned up in schools late last fall. Robin Koval, the chief executive and president of Truth Initiative, which seeks an end to tobacco use, said she supports a Puff Bar ban.

“It is an outrage that during a pandemic that attacks the lungs, Puff Bar is freely targeting our nation’s youth, putting their lives at even greater risk,” Ms. Koval said. “These egregious ads from Puff Bar are the latest example.”

In a recent online survey of 364 current vapers, ages 15 through 24, the Truth Initiative found that 57 percent were worried that vaping put them at risk of serious illness from the coronavirus, and slightly more than half wanted to quit.

The F.D.A. declined to discuss Puff Bar. Still, in an email, Mitchell Zeller, the director of the agency’s Center for Tobacco Products, wrote that the agency intended to take action against any electronic nicotine product “if it is targeted to youths, if its marketing is likely to promote use by minors, or if the manufacturer fails to take adequate measures to prevent minors’ access.”

When the F.D.A. started regulating e-cigarettes, it permitted the continued sale of products that were on the market as of Aug. 8, 2016, pending agency review. Since Puff Bar was introduced after that date, the agency does generally have the authority to remove it, despite the fact that the product is disposable and even if the agency cannot prove the company is targeting youths. The exception would be if Puff Bar had already been on the market before the 2016 deadline, under a different name, or sold by another company.

In recent weeks, the agency has blocked the importing of two e-cigarette products from China: EonSmoke, which sold disposable e-cigarettes in a number of flavors before shutting down, and RELX, available in flavors including Drunk in Mexico, Naked in Iceland and Mango.



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