Kroger sues e-cigarette company, settles with others

By Ashley Stinnett | Aug 20, 2009


SALEM, Ore. (Legal Newsline) - Oregon Attorney General John Kroger on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against a Florida-based "electronic cigarette" company over allegations it targeted children with false health claims.

The lawsuit alleges Smoking Everywhere has marketed its e-cigarettes as safe and harmless, although the company has not provided evidence the products are safe, according to Kroger.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that provides inhaled doses of nicotine by delivering a vaporized liquid nicotine solution.

"It's my duty to protect the public from products that are falsely advertised as safe," Kroger said.

The state's lawsuit also contends Smoking Everywhere has been marketing its e-cigarettes to minors even though the company claims its products are intended for "adults only."

According to the Food and Drug Administration, tobacco products that are used to get a "buzz" or to quit smoking are considered drugs. Therefore the product manufacturer must submit scientific evidence the product is safe and effective for its intended use.

The state alleges the manufacturer used bubblegum, chocolate and cookies and cream flavored e-cigarettes to attract young users, according to Kroger.

"We're fighting to make sure kids are protected from unapproved gimmicks like e-cigarettes that get them hooked on nicotine," he said.

So far, Oregon is the only state to take legal action against makers of e-cigarettes. Recently, the State settled with three retailers prohibiting them from selling e-cigarettes in the state until they meet state and federal standards.

The State also reached an agreement with Sottera, Inc., and the national distributor NJOY. The agreement temporarily suspends the sale of its products in the state until local and national standards are met, according to Kroger.

Smoking Everywhere refused a similar settlement offer.

The FDA has never approved e-cigarettes.

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