The Food and Drug Administration has sent warnings to operators of 24 e-commerce sites that allegedly sold e-cigarettes to minors younger than 18.
The move, which follows an FDA sting operation, comes one month after new regulations regarding e-cigarettes took effect. In May, the FDA issued rules prohibiting retailers from selling e-cigarettes to people under 18. The agency also required retailers to verify purchasers' ages via a photo ID. Those rules became effective in August.
When the FDA finalized the rules, it said some commenters had suggested banning online sales of e-cigarettes altogether. "These comments asserted that manufacturers and retailers are not enforcing age verification effectively and that youth are able to purchase tobacco products when they are not in the physical presence of the seller," the FDA wrote.
The new regulations also require retailers of e-cigarettes to place health warnings on all ads, including ads on search engines and social media.
The agency reiterated that requirement in its warning letters, which went to 55 retailers -- brick-and-mortar as well as online sites like MyStogie.com, VapingSisters.com and HookahTown.com.
"It is your responsibility to ensure that your tobacco products and all related labeling and/or advertising on this website, on any other websites (including e-commerce, social networking, or search engine websites), in any other media in which you advertise, and in any retail establishments comply with each applicable provision of the [Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act] and FDA’s implementing regulations," the FDA wrote.
The agency asked the retailers to respond by next month.