New Jersey is dealing with a dangerous flood of illegal flavored vape products being shipped from China.

That's according to Rich Marianos, a retired assistant director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, turned Georgetown University faculty.

Marianos is among a collective of retired law enforcement, alerting the public about dangers of such non-regulated vape products, which include popular brand, Elf-Bar, being marketed specifically to youth.

Despite being illegal at the federal and state levels since 2020, many such flavored vape products are still on store shelves.

RELATED: NJ town has police crack down on youth vaping

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently busted five NJ shops — in Atlantic City, Swedesboro, Ewing, Pennsauken and Absecon — seeking a maximum fine of over $20,000 for each.

These shops received warning letters from the FDA first, but failed to remove the illegal vape items.

“We need to do a better comprehensive job as a nation, through law enforcement, our school resource officer, our parents, our school administrators to attack this with a full-court press,” Marianos said, pointing to the success of such public education programs as MADD for drunk driving awareness.

The group runs the website

Outbreak Of Severe Pulmonary Disease Increases Scrutiny Of Vaping
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U.S. officials cracking down

Marianos commended New Jersey in being among states already identifying the problem, while adding that having a ban on these vapes is just the start. He says five stores being fined is barely a drop in the bucket.

He said the FDA needs to provide more resources — namely funding — to help communities crack down on these illegal sales, which translate into a multi-billion dollar industry, supporting organized crime in China.

These very products are banned in China for domestic use.

Vape use among the underaged

Among middle school and high school students who use e-cigarettes, 25% used them daily and 89% used flavored e-cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Monmouth County, Howell Township recently launched new enforcement efforts in such an anti-youth vaping program.

Many of these cartridges have not been regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and have strong concentrates of nicotine, synthetic nicotine, and even THC (the main psychoactive chemical in cannabis).

With no nicotine or THC potency caps, e-cigarette pods and e-liquids may contain much stronger nicotine salts, synthetic nicotine and higher nicotine concentrates than traditional cigarettes.

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