City Attorneys are tasked with representing their city or municipality from different dangers. On Halloween 2018, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer spent his day sending a total of three injunctions to California based electronic cigarette manufacturers. The City’s Attorney office deems these companies to have marketed their products to minors.
In court reports, the city states that the companies did not ask for age verification, valid identification, or ask for a date of birth. C.A Mike Feuer said that his office was able to buy electronic cigarette products with fake emails belonging to fake teenagers using gift cards to pay.
Feuer went on to strongly reinforce the FDA’s nationwide epidemic stance by stating that “Underage vaping is an emerging public health epidemic, and luring kids to use dangerous and addictive vaping products”. He even went as far as saying that kids shouldn’t have access to these products at all.
The three companies named were VapeCo Distribution, VapeCo’s parent company NEwhere, and Kandypens Inc. Filings indicate that VapeCo and Nowhere both had social media platforms that seemed to celebrate vaping by using young models, vape trick videos, cartoons, and more.
The popular Dessert Flavored E-Liquid brand Madhatter who is owned by NEwhere was specifically mentioned in these injunctions, and as of 11:30 AM MST 11.1.18 their website is down. Madhatter has various flavors that range from cookies, donuts, taffy, to rainbow. The FDA did just however issue their formal warning to Madhatter for selling a brand of e-liquid that strongly resembles a popular brand of boxed apple juice.
Kandypens Inc was cited for not using an “age gate” on their social media platforms, which would restrict users who are under the legal age of being able to buy electronic cigarettes from viewing their pages. In one post they show famed artist DJ Khaled using one of their products in one of his music videos. The website is full of popular music videos from popular artist where artists all are featured using their products. Feuer said that the company is using “a very purposeful scheme to get underage youth to start to vape.”
In the end, the City Attorney alleges that these three companies violated California’s Unfair Competition Law as well as violating California’s Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement Act. The Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement Act is California’s new legislation that used the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21.
So, what does this mean for the electronic cigarette industry? Well, thats tricky to know. Too many times before we have seen warning letters and little consequence. It does seem however that with the FDA’s new nationwide epidemic stance on electronic cigarettes towns, cities and municipalities are taking note.