• May 26, 2024

Illegal Vapes Continue Flooding U.S. Ports

 Illegal Vapes Continue Flooding U.S. Ports
Photo: Katie Chizhevskaya

Thousands of unauthorized flavored vapes continue entering the U.S. from China, reports the Los Angeles Times, citing government and industry data.

More than 11,500 unique vaping products are being sold in U.S. stores, up 27 percent from 9,000 products in June, according to Circana data reviewed by the Associated Press. The products generated $3.2 billion in the first 11 months of 2023. Nearly all the new products are single-use e-cigarettes.

In December, federal agents seized more than 1.4 million illegal e-cigarettes, valued at $18 million, at Los Angeles International Airport. The illicit vapes were mislabeled as shoes, toys and other items.

While the number of confiscations has been growing, they represent only a fraction of the unauthorized products slipping through.

The FDA has authorized a handful of e-cigarettes for adult smokers and is still reviewing products from several major companies, including  former market leader Juul. Regulators consider nearly all other e-cigarettes to be illegal.

The authorized tobacco-flavored products are not popular, however. Their combined sales were just $174 million, or 2.4 percent of the vaping marketplace, according to Circana.

“Nobody wants them,” a Michigan shop owner was quoted as saying. “If people wanted them, they’d be on the shelves, and they’re not.”