E-Cigarettes Hit With Class Action Law Suit

A leading seller of e-cigarettes has been hit with a major federal class action law suit, just as it finished warning a judge in another federal judicial proceeding that its “continued existence” was threatened by a growing number of legal actions, including at least one which the company blamed squarely on Action on Smoking and Health [ASH], the national antismoking organization which is leading the legal battle against the sale of this unapproved nicotine administration device.

E-cigarettes have already been banned in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Mexico, and virtually in Oregon, restricted in Finland, Malaysia, and Singapore, threatened with legal action in Connecticut, about to be banned in California, sued for violating state law by one attorney general, and abandoned by Facebook, PayPay, and Amazon.com after the companies received notices of potential legal liability from ASH, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

In announcements triggered by ASH, the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] has warned that the product is “illegal.” The agency also reported, in a separate statement triggered by ASH, that it found deadly toxins and cancer-causing chemicals in the product, and presumably in the vapor inhaled by users and bystanders.

The new class action law suit noted that the defendant claims its product has been “toxicologically tested and it contains no known ingredients that are considered cancer-causing agents.” However, the class action claims, the e-cigarettes have tested positive for human carcinogens, and that at least one cartridge was found to contain diethylene glycol, “a poison found in antifreeze that has been linked to hundreds of deaths worldwide from tainted toothpaste and cough syrup.”

This reference is to recent widely-publicized instances where both toothpastes and cough syrups made in China were found to contain deadly diethylene glycol. Most if not virtually all of the e-cigarettes sold in the U.S. are also made in China.

Indeed, the FDA has reported the toxic chemicals found in samples of e-cigarettes it tested included diethylene glycol, “an ingredient used in antifreeze, [which] is toxic to humans”; “certain tobacco-specific nitrosamines which are human carcinogens”; and that “tobacco-specific impurities suspected of being harmful to humans - anabasine, myosmine, and ?-nicotyrine - were detected in a majority of the samples tested.”

The new class action law suit seeks monetary damages for unfair competition and unjust enrichment, and also a court order requiring the company to correct its advertising. Law professor Banzhaf suggests that more civil law suits are likely to be filed in the near future, and that sellers of drug-delivery devices which are not approved by the FDA could also face potential criminal sanctions, even if they make no claims for their product.

Virtually all other nicotine-delivery products — including nicotine gum, nicotine patches, nicotine sprays, nicotine inhalers, nicotine lollipops, nicotine water, and another nicotine-delivery device which also looks like a cigarette called “Favor” — are regulated by the FDA, which typically requires warnings, limits sales to adults, and imposes other restrictions designed to protect public health. E-cigarettes are not regulated, typically contain no warnings, may be sold to children, and, indeed, often come in a variety of flavors which many believe make them enticing to young children.

“Persons who need or desire to ingest nicotine by inhaling on a cigarette-like device may use nicotine inhalers, many of which strongly resemble cigarettes. E-cigarette may one day join them as still another drug administration device approved by the FDA if they can be shown to be safe and effective — presumably with suitable health warnings, restrictions on sales to children, and other appropriate safeguards to protect the public,” says Prof. Banzhaf.

Professor of Public Interest Law, GWU, 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 ** http://ash.org

5 responses to “E-Cigarettes Hit With Class Action Law Suit

  1. The FDA has a very weak case at best and in no way can successfully argue that Electronic Cigarettes are not a better alternative to smoking tobacco. But they are urged to go after Electronic Cigarettes by advocate groups against smoking like ASH who by the way is funded largely by Big Pharmacy who stands to loose money to e-cigarettes because people will quit using there smoking cessation products that for most do not work anyway. Then there is local Government that stand to loose their lost tax revenue from tobacco.

  2. What intelliectual, fraudulent dishonesty to portray oneself as having genuine concern for the health of others, while ignoring the facts regarding the e-cig as a decidedly favorable alternative to a known killer product. And tobacco being a product which is and has been only lightly regulated by the US Congress. I suggest that the good professor remove his mask, or seek treatment for his delusion that he is interested in the wholesale welfare of any smoker. This is a clear manifestation of a personal, political campaign that is not only warped, and perhaps greed driven, but also seriously illogical. Were I of a different fabric I may be burninng to know what the good professor would suggest a smoker do as an alternative to tobacco product use. And don’t give me the typical non-smoker, trite, ignorant advice to simply go cold turkey. As a smoker for over 40 years, having quit and restarted tobacco use many times, I defy anyone to show me a product anywhere that would have allowed me to, so far and easily, cease using tobacco and feel better in 3 days, have no desire to buy tobacco, nearly vomit at the smell of a smoker, and so on. Dear professor and other anti-smoking tyrants, should I simply remain chained to the LEGAL tobacco Industry? Sir, et al you are all sinisterly motivated frauds, in my opinion.

  3. \”Indeed, the FDA has reported the toxic chemicals found in samples of e-cigarettes it tested included diethylene glycol, “an ingredient used in antifreeze, [which] is toxic to humans”; “certain tobacco-specific nitrosamines which are human carcinogens”; and that “tobacco-specific impurities suspected of being harmful to humans – anabasine, myosmine, and ?-nicotyrine – were detected in a majority of the samples tested.”

    Please get your facts straight then feel free to comment … diethylene glycol???

    Like most everyone else, it seems that you did not bother to confirm anything before stating the \”facts\” Visit my site and check the test results page, the page on nitrosamines, carcinogens etc.

    http://smoke-vs-vapor.webs.com/http://www.prlog.org/10454837-electronic-cigarette-class-action-lawsuits.html or any of my other press releases.


  4. jeanette walters

    I received this e cigarette first I got a eye migraine and the doctors said I could of had a stroke so I just started smoking the E cigarette and but then my skin on my face got numb and the skin on my head got numb my mind was confused I couldnt drive I couldnt function right my daughter took me to the hospital they did a mri and said I did not have a stroke so they sent me to a neurologist he said to quit smoking the E cigarette by the next morning the numbness went away and it took me a few days to get back to normal I missed a week and half of work and after adding up to thousands of dollars on doctors and hospital bills it was hell I do not think these should be sold at all to anyone

  5. Millie Denham

    My husband an avid smoker of regular cigarettes smoked for 50 years, 10 months ago he changed to the e-cigarette, since there was suppose to be no nicotine or chemicals in it
    he went to the doctor yearly for a chest xray of his lungs because he had sleep apnea, his lungs were clear when he started the e-cigarette. He has just been diagnosed with Lung Cancer, we later found out all the poison toxic chemicals and nicotine in the e-cigarette. My husband has a short life span before this he was a health 68 year old man
    his story is below:
    MY husband has just about a month ago been diagnosed with Extensive Small Cell Lung Cancer, he went through many test, he began in January 2011 having a nonproductive caugh as well as weight loss, his appetite has been diminished a bit. He has not had hemoptysis but has had some midsternal chest pain radiating around the ribcage bilaterally. In addition, he has had some mild dysphagia and reportedly an upper GI recently did reveal evidence of some degree of exteinsic compression. In any case a chest x-ray had revealed some abnormalities and CT Chest was ordered on May 23, This revealed evidence of extensive mediastinal adenopathy as well as a left lower lobe pleura-based mass and left apical lesion. These were confirmed on the PET/CT and found to be hypermetabolic. In addition, there was evidence of skeletal metastatis disease. The patient underwent a non - diagnostic bronchoscopy on May 31, CT-guided needle biopsy of a lung leison was preformed yesterday morning and is tentatively positive for small cell carcinoma.

    Assessment: The 68 year old gentleman has evidence of extensive small cell lung cancer. He was made aware of the overall relatively poor prognosis. Specifically, he was told that this represents an incurable malignancy. All treatment would be given with palliative intent.

    Plan: To that end, treatment with chemotherapy consisting of Carboplatin and Etoposide. He was made aware of the shedule of treatment as well as potential for benefits and toxicities. He voices understanding and wishes to proceed. Started
    Chemo. on June 22, 2011.

    PATIENT: Bob
    Had been a cigarette smoker for 50 years. He was trying to quit and stopped the traditional cigarettes and went on the e-cigarette approximately 9 months ago.
    His doctor said he had had this cancer around 6 to 8 months, We have records where he ordered the items off the internet, Totally Wicked and another e-cigarette, mostly Totally Wicked. Bob believes his problems came about by these e-cigarettes since he had great looking lungs before going on the e-cigarettes. He saw advertising that said
    this would help him quit the cigarettes with no harm.

    Should you be interested in talking to me Millie and Bob about this, please email me at:
    [email protected]
    or call 1-606-872-6025 or 1-606-872-6024

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