The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration seized forty-four websites offering to sell illicit vaping cartridges containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. The action, which is part of Operation Vapor Lock, reflects ongoing work by federal, state and local authorities to investigate the supply chain of vaping products associated with recent lung injuries.
The online networks, some of which were identified based on interviews with patients and families, advertised cartridges in various brand names alongside pictures and statements about THC levels or other information clearly indicating the items for sale would be considered a controlled substance under federal law. To date, none of the products advertised on the websites have been confirmed to be linked to any cases of lung injury.
“We need to fully understand the causes of vaping related-lung injuries,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, MD “Moreover, it is a federal crime to advertise the sale of illicit THC vaping cartridges online, and by seizing these websites [December 20], 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.”
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