Feds should crack down on Elf Bar vaping products targeting kids, Sen. Schumer says
The feds should snuff out a popular e-cig brand that appears to be targeting kids, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Sunday.
He called out China-based Elf Bar, saying it’s been getting social media influencers to advertise harmful nicotine products with flavors like apple-peach and cotton candy to children.
“There’s a new e-cigarette in town. It’s hooking New York City and Long Island young people with kid-friendly flavors and Gen Z colors,” Schumer told reporters.
“It is made in China and it is in all likelihood evading [Federal Drug Administration] rules about advertising cigarettes to kids, including e-cigarettes.”
Elf Bar did not immediately answer emailed requests for comment.
Noting that Elf Bar shuns traditional advertising on TV or in print, Schumer said the company has paid influencers to flaunt the product — garnering a jaw-dropping 1.6 billion views for clips with the Elf Bar hashtag on TikTok.
He called on the feds to investigate such practices.
“Depending on what the investigation might find, my message to the FDA and Justice Department is, take every action up to and including banning Elf Bar,” said the New York Democrat. “Just as we had to chase Juul out of the market of directing e-cigarette advertising and sales to kids, we have to do the same with Elf Bar.”
Last year, the FDA moved to ban Juul sales in the U.S. after the company was pressured to stop selling flavored vaping products. The ban is now playing out in court.
“That left a vacuum, and this Chinese company, Elf Bar, is trying to fill that vacuum,” Schumer said.
Meanwhile, youth use of disposable e-cigs has “skyrocketed,” he noted.
Puffing of the products increased 1,000% among high schoolers from 2019 to 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It went up 400% among middle school students.
Elf Bar is available at bodegas and shops throughout the city and Long Island, Schumer said.
Recent social media promotions have included an unboxing video of an Elf Bar product and a person who dressed as an Elf Bar for Halloween, he added.
“We believe that the FDA can shut this advertising down and eventually shut Elf Bar down,” Schumer said.