Many people have either switched from regular cigarettes to e-cigarettes or have chosen the latter as a “safer alternative.” However, e-cigarettes are not entirely safe and have their own risks, even if they are different than tobacco cigarettes. Further, the product is now used by both former smokers as well as minors who are looking for a product that they can easily access. With that in mind, regulators have asserted their authority over this product in an attempt to both establish safety standards and control marketing. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration indicated that it would take stricter steps to impose controls on e-cigarettes.
Violations of Minimum Age Requirements
The FDA has initiated communications with Walgreens, one of the more frequent violators of minimum age rules when it comes to e-cigarettes. Walgreens alone has incurred over 1,800 violations of the rules. The FDA has expressed an intent to meet with Walgreens’ management to discuss the violations and to understand whether it is something systemic across the corporation. According to the FDA, not only is Walgreens one of the biggest violators of e-cigarette rules, but it is also one of the largest transgressors when it comes to selling tobacco to minor children. The FDA’s letter warns Walgreens that the FDA is concerned about the number of violations across its stores.
The FDA’s letter was not limited to Walgreens. It called out top violators for minimum age requirements and put them on notice that the FDA intended to act to enforce its rules. The top violators of these rules, with compliance issues in 35 to 44 percent of the stores inspected, were gas stations. Several other chains, including Kroger and Wal-Mart, also made the list. All of the companies that were named were directed to submit a response to the FDA in writing within 15 days after receiving the letter.
Unethical Marketing Tactics Targeting Minors
Not only did the FDA express its intention to step up enforcement of minor sales rules, it also announced that it was looking into several means of marketing that made certain types of e-cigarettes more popular with minors. This includes certain types of products including flavored e-cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery systems. The letter reminded the public that there is nicotine in e-cigarettes and that they are not a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes.
The FDA’s announcement has foreshadowed the beginning of a more sustained campaign to regulate e-cigarettes. The new campaign will include future regulatory policies to address the use of the product and further information gathering on the part of the FDA. Even though Commissioner Gottlieb is leaving the FDA, e-cigarettes will continue to be a priority for the agency. The agency informed the public that it will further restrict sales if the issue of minor usage did not improve.
While the product remains legal and will continue to do so, the FDA will act to further study the effects of e-cigarettes and enforce rules on how they are sold. The FDA is particularly concerned that the use of e-cigarettes can weaken the lungs and be a precursor to lung cancer even if it is not a direct cause itself.
E-cigarette Lawsuits Are Being Filed Against Manufacturers
Although e-cigarette manufacturers market the product as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, the makers of this product have faced litigation just as the tobacco companies did. There have been numerous lawsuits against manufacturers for deceptively marketing e-cigarettes as safe when there are dangers from product usage. Product liability law applies to the sale of e-cigarettes, and their makers can be found liable if the product does harm users. In addition, just like any other product liability case, anyone who sells the product can be legally responsible as well. This can extend to convenience stores and any other chains that market the product. The Juul is an e-cigarette brand that is currently facing lawsuits and FDA regulations. The number of Juul lawsuits is increasing as more people are being diagnosed with Juul Pneumonia and lung disorder risks.
Are You Considering an E-Cigarette Lawsuit?
The lawyers at KBA Attorneys are knowledgeable and experienced in dealing with products that injure their users, such as e-cigarettes, and retailers who improperly sell that product. Contact KBA Attorneys today to find out how we can help victims who have suffered harm as a result of using e-cigarettes. We have a track record of standing up to powerful corporations and winning compensation for our clients.
- FDA. “Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on forceful new actions focused on retailers, manufacturers to combat youth access to e-cigarettes as part of FDA’s Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan”, U.S. Food & Drug Administration, https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/statement-fda-commissioner-scott-gottlieb-md-forceful-new-actions-focused-retailers-manufacturers. Accessed May 6, 2019.
- Kate Gibson. “Walgreens tops list for illegal cigarette sales to minors”, CBS News, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/walgreens-tops-the-list-for-illegal-sales-of-cigarettes-to-minors/. Accessed May 6, 2019.