Large E-Cigarette Company Settles Law Suit
Makes Major Concessions, Copycat Suits Likely
One of the country's largest e-cigarette [e-cig] companies has been forced to make major concessions to settle a law suit which threatened to put it out of business, says Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the national legal-action antismoking organization which helped inspire the legal action.
Under the legally-binding settlement agreement, the company agreed not to sell e-cigs to minors, sell flavored e-cig cartridges that could appeal to minors, advertise its product as a device that can help people quit smoking, sell cartridges that contain vitamins unless they're scientifically proven to boost health, or claim its e-cigs are safer than tobacco cigarettes without scientific proof. Previous law suits actually stopped several e-cig companies from continuing to do business in a state, notes public interest law professor John Banzhaf, Executive Director of ASH.
The settlement comes on the heels of an announcement by ASH of a new scientific study highlighting new dangers to users of e-cigs. http://www.prlog.org/10831614-cigarettes-new-potential-dangers-for-users-and-new-ban-in-singapore.html
The Food and Drug Administration [FDA] had already concluded that e-cigs pose "acute health risks," that the "danger posed by the unrestricted distribution of [these] unregulated products containing toxic chemicals cannot seriously be questioned," and that they have caused a wide variety of potentially serious problems "including racing pulse, dizziness, slurred speech, mouth ulcers, heartburn, coughing, diarrhea, and sore throat." It has declared the products "illegal."
Many medical experts, as well as major public health organizations, share these concerns, and have argued for many of the restrictions included in this new legal settlement.
E-cigs have already been banned in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, and Singapore, restricted in Finland and Malaysia, are pending restriction in the UK as a drug, and the subject of law suits in several states. In part as a result of urging by ASH, New Jersey and Suffolk County, NY, have prohibited their use in no-smoking sections, and New York is also moving to ban them.
E-cigs, which emit into the air a mixture of nicotine (a deadly and addictive drug which can contribute to fatal heart attacks), propylene glycol (a respiratory irritant used in antifreeze and known to cause respiratory tract infections), and other substances the FDA has labeled "carcinogenic" and "toxic," can also be used to administer other dangerous substances. ASH has previously reported to the FDA instances in which e-cigs are being marketed as containing Ciallis, as well as others containing a potent form of marijuana. http://www.cigarettesreviews.com/fda-may-ban-marijuana-e-cigarettes
Banzhaf suggests that this very recent legal victory will probably encourage additional law suits against e-cig companies, since the legal complaints which initiated them as well as the settlements are public documents which can easily be copied and/or rewritten by others. With minor modifications, they can easily be used in other jurisdictions also, he notes. ASH is actively encouraging such law suits, says Banzhaf.
ASH does not oppose the use of e-cigs to help smokers quit. But it has actively sought - through legal action, regulation, and legislation - to attain many of the goals just achieved in this settlement. These including restrictions on the sale to minors, prevention of misleading claims, bans on kid-friendly-flavors, etc.
For a copy of the settlement, see http://ash.org/settlementcalecig
PROFESSOR JOHN F. BANZHAF III
Professor of Public Interest Law at GWU,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
FELLOW, World Technology Network, and
Executive Director and Chief Counsel
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
America's First Antismoking Organization
2013 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006, USA
(202) 659-4310 // (703) 527-8418
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