WASHINGTON: The US Justice Department and the Food and Drug Administration on Monday launched a new task force that will take aim at the sale and distribution of illicit e-cigarettes, in a move to protect youth from illegal vaping products.

The new enforcement effort comes after the FDA issued more than 1,100 warning letters to manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers for illegally selling or distributing unauthorized new tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

To date, the FDA has only authorized the sale of 23 tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products.

“Unauthorized e-cigarettes and vaping products continue to jeopardize the health of Americans – particularly children and adolescents – across the country,” said Benjamin C. Mizer, the Justice Department’s No. 3 official, in a press release.

“This interagency task force is dedicated to protecting Americans by combating the unlawful sale and distribution of these products. And the establishment of this task force makes clear that vigorous enforcement of the tobacco laws is a government-wide priority.

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