US Customs Seize Thousands of Vape Pens Shipped from Hong Kong
Authorities in the United States have seized thousands of vape pens shipped from Hong Kong. The large shipment of vape pens was reportedly scheduled to arrive at a home located in Florissant, Missouri.
The vape pens were reportedly intercepted at a consignment operations hub located in St. Louis on Oct. 9th, 2020. The report of the bust was only made public last week Monday. There are reportedly about 7,800 vape pens included in the shipment discovered at the port of St. Louis.
According to Steve Bansbach, spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Chicago, the vape pens were valued at thousands of dollars. He said the vape pens are from the Puff Bar brand and are estimated to cost around $156,000. Bansbach also said the vape pens contain nicotine, propylene glycol, and vegetable glycerine. These are some of the major ingredients included in most vape liquids available on the US market.
Authorities suspect that vape pens shipment was made by smugglers. As is common with smuggles, Bansbach said the pack was mislabeled as an air humidifier. Maybe this was done to throw authorities off the scent of the real contents of the package. Officials are confident that the mislabeling was an intentional attempt to avoid detection and to stop officials from duty collection.
“Our officers are dedicated to identifying and intercepting these types of shipments that could potentially harm or communities,” said St. Louis’ Area Port Director. “Customs and Border Protection’s trade enforcement mission places a significant emphasis on intercepting illicit products that could harm American consumers, and we will continue to work with our consumer safety partners to identify and seize unsafe and illicit goods.”
The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was sent the package of vape pens for testing following the seizure last week. Customs officials want testing by the FDA to determine if the shipment violated any laws. According to Bansbach, the shipment misbranded consumer goods and therefore violated laws that regulate the importation of tobacco products.
Bansbach has also said that as per ongoing investigations, the identity of the person meant to receive the vape pens is yet to be discovered.
US officials are taking the case of the 7,800 vape pens very seriously. There are reports that the seized shipment has now been sent to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where further investigations will continue.
Authorities have determined that the shipment is in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&c Act) as misbranded consumer goods imported by an agent without authorization. In January this year, the FDA announced an increase in enforcement of regulations concerning nicotine vaping systems. And in April, the FDA announced that the new enforcement priorities would regulate the importation of tobacco products.
It should be noted that since vaping increased in popularity, lawmakers were forced to make laws governing vaping and its industry. Many lawmakers have extended exciting tobacco laws to also apply to the vaping industry. Some states have gone as part as including vaping products in already established tobacco tax schemes.
In 2016, the FDA concluded a rule that extended the regulatory authority of all tobacco products such as Electronic Delivery Systems (ENDS), also called e-cigarettes, personal vaporizers, e-pipes, vape pens, e-cigars, e-hookah, or vaping devices. There are many laws regarding the importation and selling of vaping products in the United States.
“CBP conducts operations at ports of entry throughout the United States, and regularly screens arriving international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products. CBP strives to serve as the premier law enforcement agency enhancing the Nation’s safety, security, and prosperity through collaboration, innovation, and integration,” a US Customs official statement regarding the bust said.
US Customs officials have said that they will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that no illegal and unsafe consumer products are shipped into the country.
In another news, Airport Customs authorities have seized 21 pieces of liquid marijuana cartridges that arrived in two different parcels in California. The marijuana cartridges arrived via the Central Mail Exchange Center (CMEC).
Customs officials say the first parcel was sent by a certain “Tan” based in California. These parcels were also mislabeled as “Cosmetic Beauty Cream.” The second parcel was reportedly sent by a “Travis Arvin” from Oregon, who also mislabeled the parcel as “Video.”
The vaping industry has been projected to continue growing at a fast rate. The United States is a leader in the global vaping industry. And there are hundreds of vaping brands in the US with thousands of vaping products on the market. There are many perks of vaping: it is commonly argued that vaping is a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. Many people addicted to cigarettes have reportedly kicked the habit by choosing vaping instead.