Brown sues electronic cigarette maker

Kathy Woods Jan. 14, 2010, 1:06pm

Jerry Brown (D)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-California Attorney General Jerry Brown is suing the retailer of electronic cigarettes, Smoking Everywhere.

Brown contends that the Florida-based company is targeting minors in its marketing and making "misleading and irresponsible" claims that its cigarettes are safe.

"Smoking Everywhere launched a misleading and irresponsible advertising campaign targeting minors and claiming that electronic cigarettes do not contain harmful chemicals," Brown said. "We are asking the Court to take these cigarettes off the market until the company has proven the products are safe."

Oregon was the first state to bring a lawsuit against the company and was successful in pulling the product from the shelves of three retailers.

Brown's lawsuit is asking for the product to be pulled until the company can show scientific proof that the product is safe.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already determined that the electronic cigarettes contain a variety of harmful chemicals, including nicotine, carcinogens such as nitrosamines and, in at least one case, diethylene glycol, better known as antifreeze.

In one of its advertisements, Smoking Everywhere has Howard Stern claiming, "Kids love em." The product also comes in flavors that are attractive to kids such as, strawberry, chocolate, mint, banana and cookies and cream.

In other advertisements the company claims the product may be used as a device to quit smoking. A product must be approved by the FDA in order for it to be advertised as a smoking-cessation aid. The FDA has not approved any of Smoking Everywhere's devices.

The electronic cigarette is designed to look and feel like a real cigarette. It is battery operated, when a user inhales, a heating element ignites the harmful chemicals inside and that is what is digested by the user.

The complaint alleges that the company violated the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, for failure to warn of the harmful chemicals in the cigaretters.

he lawsuit also alleges violations of the state Business and Profession Code for making allegedly misleading claims about the device.

Brown is urging the court to pull the product from the market until the product's safety has been proven.

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