E-Cigarette Law Suits Being Made Easy

Any person who had purchased an e-cigarette will be able to bring his or her own class action law suit against the seller, or join an e-cigarettesexisting class action and possibly share in any damages awarded to users of this new product which the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] has declared “illegal,” says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who has been leading the battle for FDA regulation of the product.

Banzhaf prompted the FDA to warn the public about the dangers of e-cigarettes, including hidden carcinogens and other toxic chemicals, encouraged the several legal actions against them which have already been brought or are about to be filed, and used legal warning notices to persuade PayPal and Amazon.com to give up e-cigarette sales. He’s also the man behind the ban
on cigarette commercials and public smoking bans, and he’s been called the “Dean of Public Interest Lawyers.”

In response to requests for legal assistance he is receiving from persons who purchased e-cigarettes based upon claims of safety, who subsequently learned that an FDA study showed that they contained deadly toxins and cancer-causing chemicals, Prof. Banzhaf has posted on line a template for drafting a class action law suit complaint against sellers of e-cigarettes. With this simple template, any attorney contacted by an e-cigarette purchaser can easily file his or her own new law suit.

This could be important because the plaintiffs and the attorneys who are the first to file class action product liability law suits often end up with the lion’s share of money recovered — including attorney’s fees — so a race to the courthouse to be the first to file in each state is quite possible, says Prof. Banzhaf.

To file a law suit, a purchaser need not have suffered any medical or other problem as a result of using the cigarettes product. Prof. Banzhaf explains that the legal actions which have so far been filed against e-cigarette sellers have relied upon consumer protection statutes which do not require any specific injuries.

Moreover, such law suits would not be affected by any decision in a federal law suit now pending which seeks to challenge the FDA’s jurisdiction over e-cigarettes. The FDA’s jurisdiction, and violations of consumer protection laws, are two very different legal issues, says Banzhaf.

For those e-cigarette purchasers who do not wish to retain their own attorney, Prof. Banzhaf says they may contact the attorneys who brought the initial class action law suit and seek to join the class or serve as plaintiffs in similar law suits in other states.

The legal actions filed to date have contended that sellers of c-cigarettes have violated consumer protection statutes by engaging in unlawful, unfair or fraudulent practices and unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising. Although the argument that the ads were unfair is based in part on scientific findings of the FDA, even a judicial ruling that the FDA at the time had no authority to regulate the product doesn’t invalidate the agency’s scientific findings about it, argues Banzhaf.

The FDA has reported that the e-cigarettes it tested contained detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals to which users could potentially be exposed. The FDA said the toxic chemicals 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 B-nicotyrine – were detected in a majority of the samples tested.”

Banzhaf notes that virtually anyone who bought one or more e-cigarettes, based upon claims that they did not contain any of the cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco cigarettes, would be able to bring a class action law suit in his or her state against the seller. Virtually all states have consumer protection statutes which permit law suits to be brought even if the purchaser suffered no harm from using the product.

The possibility of such law suits may be one reason why more e-cigarette wholesalers are finding it necessary to provide product liability insurance to their retail customers, and at least one insurance company is offering its own liability policies.

That company explains the need for such insurance this way: “the FDA has issued a warning about the product (e-cigarettes) because marketers are presenting the e-cigarette as a healthier alternative to regular cigarettes. In addition, the cartridge contains several chemicals including nicotine that are hazardous to your health.”

A copy of a class action law suit filed against one e-cigarette seller, which could serve as a template or model for similar class action law suits to be filed in other states, may be found at:

Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor
FELLOW, World Technology Network
2013 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA
(202) 659-4312

18 responses to “E-Cigarette Law Suits Being Made Easy

  1. I doubt this lawsuit will get many takers. I haven’t heard of one person who has used an e-cig say one bad word about them.

  2. The FDA findings are not complete and based on only 2 manufacturers. Even the FDA says that conclusions should not be drawn from it’s own results.

  3. 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.

  4. You give’em HE**, Wayne! I too have smoked for almost 40 years and have also tried to quit numerous times myself. And the truth is, I enjoy smoking. I don’t drink. I don’t do illegal (Or prescription drugs, for that matter). I don’t whore around. Yet, self-pontifcating jerks (in particular, ex-smokers!) have made my one enjoyment into a public crime. So I would really appreciate it if they would get off my a** and let me have my one enjoyment in this life in peace!

    That said, it would also be nice if the people who are causing grief over the e-cigarettes would get their facts STRAIGHT, to wit: In July 2009 the FDA “tested” two electronic cigarette models that belong to the two electronic cigarette companies who sued the FDA.
    The FDA shows in a biased “report” that electronic cigarette liquid does contain traces of 4 carcinogens and 3 chemicals.
    While it may be better to stop smoking, it seems that the electronic cigarette is a better alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes habit with their proven 81+ carcinogens and more than 4000+ known chemicals (you can add to it also the 700+ additive that tobacco companies add to your smoke). I think I’ll choose 4 over 81!

  5. I have been cigarette-free for many months now due to these devices.

    Use them and most people quit smoking. Polls done show that <84% of users have gotten off the "Cancer Sticks" (compared to <15% of the patch, gum, and other cessation methods even combined), and if you make your own eLiquid then all the ingredients can be made of FDA GRAS substances.

    Use them, they work!

    As to arguments that one does not know the nicotine quantity in the eliquid used, how much is in every cigarette? Does that mean that people measure their puffs of a cigarette? Smoke more when stressed? Smoke less when measuring cigarette nicotine QTY?

    What a joke!

    You get cancer, and tar in your lungs. I'll stick to the ecigs (and FDA approved GRAS chems).


  6. 84%… my typo.

  7. I just got my e-cig and WOW!! I have not smoked or desired an analog (regular) cigarette yet.
    This guy wanted people to quit but, does not want us to use any device that actually works!!
    I will stick with my e-cig!!


    I say lets start a class action against the FDA for not allowing a better alternative to become available.

  9. How about a class action against that horrible guy, for misleading people and actually trying to kill the people who could have been saved if his serpent tongue stayed quiet in his opening without lies just to support for huge tax money and political bribes from tobacco makers? Those guys will ban auntie Jane’s food by finding one or two ingredients and promote McDonald because they get paid by that. They will promote cocaine because it pays. May his life and his entire family line cursed by the angry ghosts FOREVER.

  10. A Different John

    So let me get this straight… my taxpayer dollars go to the government, who gives some of them to the FDA, who then pays this snake John Banzhaf with them in order to try to outlaw something that has increased the quality of life for me and my family no less than tenfold? You know, these things are not 100% safe… that’s a given. However, even if they’re as bad as cigarettes (doubtful, considering even the FDA’s unscientific ‘studies’ found only trace amounts of harmful chemicals other than nicotine), I’ll stick to these as they limit the danger to only myself instead of exposing family members to second hand and/or sidestream smoke.

    Also, if you’re a smoker looking for a way to quit, give these a try. I smoked 1-2 packs a day for 20 years and tried many other methods of quitting: the patch, zyban, chantix, gum, cold turkey. E-cigs (or personal vaporizers as most of us prefer to call them) made quitting so easy for me that it was almost like cheating.

  11. Iv smoked for 4 years. This product is the best thing i have ever bought. This guy is just a lobbyist for the tobacco company’s. He will try a lawsuit for anything to make some cash.

  12. Sounds unlikely to me.
    In all the years of reading comments from sources across the internet I have never seen results like the e-cig. Usually you have quite a differing of opinions but in this case I am seeing positive feedback from thousands of comments well over the 90+ percent range. Class action lawsuits of such a broad nature, as being suggested here, would be a mere pittance. Only a misguided fool would join into such a sham.

  13. As a physician, I highly recommend e-cigarettes to my patients as an alternative to smoking tobacco products. The claims made in the above article are very misleading as to the potential health benefits of e-cigarettes. Although further studies need to be done, it is evident that using e-cigarettes is a much healthier choice for people who smoke. The author of the above article should be ashamed of himself for putting political agenda above public safety.

  14. Short and simple: The government is not interested in loosing money gained from ciggerette sales. I love my new e-cig and will not return to the coughing and shortness of breath regular cigs offer. I have smoked analog cigs for 30 years and am soooo happy with my e-cig!

  15. I can’t believe this. This guy rattles on and on about how bad E cigarettes are for you and yet does not give one link or instance that can back up his so called findings that anyone has had health problems from using this product. “NOT ONE(1) HUMAN RESOURCE). Then he has the nuts to use the FDA finding that “diethylene glycol” was found in the cigarettes. “TRUTH”>> diethylene glycol was found in only ONE of the 18 samples and that was “not a measurable trace (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_cigarette). Also read the article from DR Joel Nitzkin of the American Association of Public Health Physicians at this link>> http://www.ecigarettedirect.co.uk/campaign/nitzkin-letter-to-fda.html. Other Prominent Doctors and professors of medicine>>> Michael Siegel, MD, MPH…..Joel L. Nitzkin, MD, MPH, DPA
    Chair AAPHP Tobacco Control Task Force….Brad Rodu
    Professor of Medicine …at this link (file:///E:/vapor%20smart/FDA/prominent-tobacco-researchers-expose.html). The truth is that the only one’s B@tching about the product are the anti-smoking activist (and should be for it) and the Government. The truth>>> The ones who are against this product are the ones who most benifit from Tobacco Taxes, and kickback. The government is not for it because “they make a lot of $$$Money$$$ from Tobacco sales which Are killing 400,000 Americans every year. @@@@ THINK ABOUT IT@@@

  16. Im with Matt up there. Its about time we as citizens start class action suits against those in the FDA, and this moron Bozo, Banjoke, whatever his name is. Im willing to bet if we sniffed around we’d see some season tickets, a nice vacation, or maybe even a nice christmas bonus in his possession, compliments of phillip moriis, big pharma. I guess they all forget to mention these carcinogens they put in the gum and patches. Nor do they mention the FDA approval for all these chemicals put into cigs and chewing tobacco. Not that our government minds the trillions in tax dollars they get from tobacco and pharma. Worst part is, we voted these idiots in. I think I’ll start asking more questions when filling out a ballot on election day. We actually PAY these morons???…Did anyone notice all the tobacco sales adds all over this page?…the writer is a joke, and can get bent.

  17. i just got e cig a month ago i am not going to smoke reg cig again and pay 10 plus for a pack so nys can get rich on tax money i just got enough refills for e cig last me a yr if ny bans it its 37 a month cheaper than indian cigs and 247 cheaper a month than reg price of cigs at 3 cartons a month why they want to ban it e cig 636 a yr reg cig is 3600 a yr with 3000 saved a yr i can get laid 10 times in nevada for yr lol

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