44 websites advertising illegal vaping cartridges shut down

Vaping is an emerging public health threat

WASHINGTON – Domains offering to sell illicit vaping cartridges containing THC and other adulterated substances were shut down this week by federal agencies.  The sites were shut down by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as part of Operation Vapor Lock.

Some of the online networks advertised THC vaping cartridges by brand names alongside pictures and statements about THC levels or other information clearly indicating the items for sale are considered a controlled substance under federal law.

The joint investigation uncovered that many of the websites sold products and charged the purchaser, but did not deliver a product. Other websites, not specifically identified as scams, have yet to deliver products ordered during the investigation. All websites involved now redirect to a page advising visitors that the domain has been seized by U.S. authorities for breaking federal law.

“In the wake of recent injuries and deaths caused by vaping products, these seizures send a message to anyone seeking to capitalize on this dangerous trend,” said Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. “DEA will continue to work in lockstep with FDA and other federal, state, and local partners to use all our authorities to pursue anyone that violates our laws and puts Americans in harm’s way.”

“We need to fully understand the causes of vaping related lung injuries,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. “Moreover, it is a federal crime to advertise the sale of illicit THC vaping cartridges online, and by seizing these websites today, we are able to focus on other online and in-person sources of illegal and potentially dangerous vaping products. As more information comes to light in this complex and evolving investigation, we remain committed to taking further appropriate actions with our federal, state and local partners.”

The long-term effects of vaping high concentrations of THC are not yet fully known.

About Staff Reporter 275 Articles
Huey Freeman, who has recently been serving as executive editor of Arizona Daily Independent, previously worked as a reporter for daily newspapers in Central Illinois. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and has been an adjunct professor at Millikin University and Eastern Illinois University. An author of two published books, he is working on two books on the southern border. Huey is married, with four adult children.