E-Cigarettes Hit on Many Fronts; Now Facing Two New Legal Challenges

E-Cigarettes are facing new legal challenges, including sales bans in two states, import restrictions, and rejections by PayPal and Facebook.
By: Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
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Washington - District of Columbia - US

Aug. 20, 2009 - PRLog -- Just days ago Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) reported that: "e-cigarettes have been declared illegal by the Food and Drug Administration [FDA], their sale has been banned in one state and several countries, PayPal has stopped facilitating their sale, Facebook has reportedly dropped their ads, and now one county has banned their use wherever conventional smoking is prohibited." ASH also warned that "other restrictions and problems are on their way for e-cigarettes."
SEE MEDICAL NEWS TODAY: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161215.php

ASH is now able to report several important new developments:

* Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has just issued a consumer warning urging consumers and retailers to avoid e-cigarettes in the wake of a recent FDA analysis finding cancer-causing chemicals and an antifreeze ingredient in some of the devices. As he put it, "Their motto should be: no smoke or mirrors, just plain cancer and addiction." http://media-newswire.com/release_1096685.html

* More importantly, the Attorney General promised to take legal action against the continued sale of e-cigarettes in his state: "I will vigorously fight to ban e-cigarettes, unless approved by FDA, and any attempt to retail the devices in Connecticut, as well as work with federal authorities to regulate Internet sales.”

* Meanwhile, Oregon Attorney General John Kroger has gone to court to block sales of electronic cigarettes made by a Florida company, Smoking Everywhere, which he said made false health claims about nicotine and targeted children with sweet flavors such as bubblegum and chocolate. This follows his earlier action in obtaining court-approved settlements barring the sale of e-cigarettes by two major retailers.

Recently, ASH -- the organization whose legal petition to the FDA to regulate e-cigarettes appears to be sparking action -- wrote to all 50 state attorneys general asking them to take legal action against the sale of e-cigarettes in their states, and providing them with legal precedent.

Also, apparently in response to a legal letter from ASH warning PayPal about the possible dangers of facilitating the sale of illegal e-cigarettes, PayPal in now advising customers that "at this time, we have decided not to allow the sale of electronic cigarettes."

Banzhaf notes that all other products designed to provide smokers with nicotine -- including nicotine gum, nicotine patches, nicotine sprays, and nicotine inhalers -- could be sold only once they proved to the FDA that they were safe. Several nicotine products which could not meet that test -- including nicotine lollipops, nicotine water, and a product very similar in appearance and operation to e-cigarettes -- were not permitted to be sold.

"Smokers are not guinea pigs to be used to test the safety of new drug-delivery devices," says public interest law professor John Banzhaf of ASH. He notes that
e-cigarette sellers admit that their products provide users with a mix of nicotine (a dangerous and addictive drug) and propylene glycol (which is used in antifreeze, and may cause respiratory tract irritation)."

In addition to nicotine and propylene glycol, the FDA recently reported that it found in samples of e-cigarettes a variety of "toxic and carcinogenic chemicals"
including 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 beta-nicotyrine - were detected in a majority of the samples tested."

Banzhaf suggests that many of these toxins and other cancer-causing chemicals, as well as nicotine and propylene glycol, will be found in the "vapor" given off by their products and also exhaled by users into the air around them. There they will be inhaled by e-cigarette secondhand smokers -- a group which may include infants and other young children, as well as people with medical conditions (including many elderly) who may be especially susceptible.

Indeed, at an FDA press conference, Matthew McKenna, M.D., Director of the CDC’s Office of Smoking and Health, pointed out that the e-cigarettes can be used in environments that are smoke-free, and therefore weaken the health protections these areas are supposed to provide.

Professor Banzhaf says that e-cigarette sellers can expect more problems to develop, perhaps within the next several weeks.

Professor of Public Interest Law and Executive Director
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
America's First Antismoking Organization
2013 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA
(202) 659-4310 // (703) 527-8418
http://ash.org // http://banzhaf.net

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Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), America's first anti-smoking organization, serves as the legal action arm of the anti-smoking community.
Tags:E-cigarette, Ash, Banzhaf, Fda, Smoking, Cancer
Industry:Health, Legal, Business
Location:Washington - District of Columbia - United States
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