MONEY & BUSINESS: Hulk Hogan, Mike Tyson slammed for peddling kid-friendly e-cigs
Former wrestling legend Hulk Hogan and ex-heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson are peddling flavored nicotine vapes popular among teens, even as the Food and Drug Administration recently made moves to crack down on the sale of the illicit products.
Over the past year, Tyson and Hogan have pushing disposable nicotine vapes wrapped in loud, colorful packaging and designs through their brands Tyson 2.0 and Immortal by Hulk Hogan.
The devices are sold in fruity and dessert flavors such as apple gummies, strawberry shortcake and cotton candy.
Critics flamed the muscle heads for pushing products geared to younger vapers.
“For so-called celebrities to be promoting products that are dangerous for kids is a sad day,” Jim Carroll, the White House drug czar under former President Donald Trump, told The Post.
“Flavor hooks kids on these products,” said Meredith Berkman, cofounder of the advocacy group Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes, adding it was “disheartening” to see Hogan and Tyson using “their likeness to market flavored poison.”
Many experts also lashed out at the celebrity-branded ventures because the products are illegal to sell and distribute in the United States.
“There’s this perception that it must be ok because they all over the place,” Edgar Domenech, former New York City Sheriff under former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, said about the flavored vapes. “Well, it’s not okay. They’re illegal. They’re targeting our kids.”
In 2022, 2.5 million youths reported using e-cigarettes, including roughly 14% of all high school students and 3% of middle school students, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nearly 85% percent of all middle and high school students said that they used non-tobacco flavored vapes.
To date, the FDA has only authorized the sale of 23 vaping products, all of which are tobacco flavored and geared toward adults, according to agency spokesman Jim McKinney.
In recent months, the FDA has made efforts to stem the flow of vapes into the United States, the vast majority of which are made in Shenzhen, China.
In May, the agency banned imports of the popular Elf Bar and Esco Bar, among other devices, and sent warning letters to nearly 200 retailers selling the unauthorized products. It also issued market denial orders for companies manufacturing nearly 6,500 vaping products.
Reps for Tyson and Hogan, as well as their brands, did not respond to a request for comment.