Electronic Cigarette Maker Agrees to Stop Marketing to Minors
OAKLAND — Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced a settlement to prevent Smoking Everywhere, one of the country's largest electronic cigarette sellers, from targeting minors and claiming that its products are a safe alternative to smoking.
“Smoking Everywhere aimed ads at minors and falsely claimed its products were safe,” Brown said. “This settlement stops the company from marketing these addictive products to kids or claiming they aren’t dangerous.”
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-operated devices with nicotine cartridges designed to look and feel like conventional cigarettes. Instead of actual smoke, e-cigarettes produce a vapor from the nicotine cartridge that is inhaled by the user.
Smoking Everywhere and other electronic cigarette makers have claimed that e-cigarettes are safe because they contain no carcinogens or tar, and produce no second-hand smoke.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, found that some electronic cigarettes contain a variety of dangerous chemicals, including nicotine, carcinogens such as nitrosamines, and one brand also contained diethylene glycol, commonly known as antifreeze.
Some e-cigarettes come in strawberry, chocolate, mint, banana and cookies-and-cream flavors designed to appeal to a young audience.
Today's settlement prohibits Smoking Everywhere from marketing to minors and from making false or misleading claims about electronic cigarettes. Specifically, the company has agreed that it will not:
- Market or sell electronic cigarettes to minors. Its website will be age-restricted, and a customer will need to show a government-issued ID. Retail products will be behind a counter. Advertising must note the age restriction.
- Sell flavored electronic cigarette cartridges such as strawberry, mint or bubblegum that could appeal to minors.
- Advertise its products as a smoking cessation device unless the FDA approves them for that purpose.
- Claim that its products are safer than cigarettes or contain no tobacco, tar or carcinogens, and produce no second-hand smoke unless there is competent reliable scientific evidence to support the claims.
Smoking Everywhere also agreed to implement quality control standards to eliminate harmful substances in its products and submit to independent audits.
Smoking Everywhere will also provide a Proposition 65 warning that its products contain nicotine, a chemical known to be addictive and to cause birth defects or reproductive harm. The warning must appear on product packaging, Smoking Everywhere's website and at retail sites.
Smoking Everywhere and its owner will pay $170,000 in penalties and fees.
A copy of the consent judgment is attached.