LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office is seeking injunctions against three electronic cigarette companies, NEwhere Inc., VapeCo Distribution LLC, and Kandypens Inc., alleging the illegal sale of vaping products online without proper age verification, the sale of tobacco products without federal approval and marketing that promotes youth consumption of tobacco. Copies of the lawsuits are below.
"Underage vaping is an emerging public health epidemic, and luring kids to use dangerous and addictive vaping products, as we allege here, has got to stop," said Feuer. "In fact, kids shouldn’t have access to these products at all. The lawsuits we filed today send a strong message that if you put children at risk for the sake of profit, you’ll face serious consequences."
Los Angeles based VapeCo and its parent company NEwhere Inc. own and control at least three vaping retail websites including NEwhere, Mad Hatter Juice and Vapeco, each offering e-liquids and related vaping devices. The defendants allegedly have no US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approval for most, if not all, of the products they offer for sale.
VapeCo and NEwhere allegedly use popular social media platforms, including Instagram, to glamorize youth vaping through the use of young models, sexualized content, cartoon characters, smoking tricks and the flavored products have packaging designed to resemble food products that directly appeal to children, including fruit flavored cereal, donuts, cookies, popcorn and candy.
The lawsuit also alleges the company failed to take necessary legal steps to ensure minors do not purchase vaping products on their websites. On multiple occasions, the City Attorney’s Office was able to purchase various e-cigarette products from the defendants’ websites while posing as teen customers using fake email accounts and a prepaid gift card. At no point did the companies request a valid form of government identification, or otherwise verify the age of the customer, as required by California law.