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March 11, 2014 / Scott Tillett

Is “Vaping” Safe? Consumer Files Class Action Against e-Cigarette Manufacturers

On February 11, 2014, California resident Eric McGovern filed a class action lawsuit (Orange County Superior Court, case no.: 30-2014-00705711-CU-FR-CXC) against electronic cigarette makers Njoy, Inc. and Soterra, Inc. McGovern claims that he experienced several adverse symptoms including nausea, dizziness, and persistent pain in his chest after using the Njoy products despite assurances from the manufacturers that they are safe alternatives to traditional combustible cigarettes.

E-Cigarettes, also referred to as “vapes,” for the water vapor released as aerosol from the heating of liquid contained in the e-cigarette, are popular substitutes for those looking for an alternative to traditional cigarettes. McGovern claims that the manufacturers of e-cigarettes “spend millions of dollars each year making unsubstantiated claims about their products.” According to the complaint, Njoy represents that its products contain no harmful ingredients and that the glycerin, propylene glycol, and other substances found in their products have been determined by the FDA to be “safe for use in food products.”

In July 2009, the FDA issued a report announcing that “a laboratory analysis of electronic cigarette samples has found that they contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals such as diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze.” In a more recent report published by BioMed Central on January 9, 2014, researchers suggested monitoring “levels and effects of prolonged exposure to propylene glycol and glycerin that comprise the bulk of emissions from electronic cigarettes other than nicotine and water vapor…” Despite the FDA’s plans to issue a proposed rule extending its regulatory authority to e-cigarettes, the only e-cigarettes currently regulated by the FDA are those which are “marketed for therapeutic purposes.”

McGovern has alleged the defendants fail to disclose and actively conceal the fact that their products contain harmful toxins and varying levels of nicotine in violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and California’s Unfair Competition Law. The complaint also alleges causes of action for false advertising, consumer fraud, unjust enrichment, and conversion for which McGovern seeks actual, compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages on behalf of consumers who have purchased Njoy e-cigarettes.

If you or someone you know has purchased products based upon false representations or have otherwise been the victim of consumer fraud, you may be entitled to relief. Please call Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a confidential consultation.

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