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Posts Tagged ‘Flavors’

PHAI Takes Action Against Puff Bar for Violating Massachusetts’ Ban on Flavored e-Cigarettes

Thursday, June 11th, 2020

CONTACTS:

Mark Gottlieb                                                             Meredith Lever
(617) 216-0779                                                            (617) 373-8066
mark@phaionline.org                                          meredith@phaionline.org

 

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Puff Bar Charged With Violating Massachusetts’ Ban on Flavored e-Cigarettes
In direct violation of state law, Puff Bar sells flavored, disposable e-cigarettes that appeal to teens

 BOSTON, MA (June 11, 2020) – Today, the Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) at Northeastern University School of Law initiated action against Puff Bar and Cool Clouds Distribution, Inc., the makers and distributors of flavored, disposable Puff Bar e-cigarettes.

In its claim letter, PHAI alleges that Puff Bar e-cigarettes are sold in Massachusetts in clear violation of a November 2019 state law that prohibits the sale of all flavored e-cigarettes. Puff Bar has become extremely popular, eclipsing JUUL as the favored vape product among young people.

The claim is brought on behalf of 22-year old Juliana Larson of Medford and 33-year old Juliana Shulman-Laniel of Boston, both acting as testers for PHAI. In April, both testers purchased a flavored Puff Bar online through puffbar.com and had the product mailed to their homes in Massachusetts. The package was left at each tester’s doorstep without obtaining a signature.

“Apparently Puff Bar and Cool Clouds Distribution thought that nobody would notice or care that they have been selling flavored e-cigarettes here in blatant violation of Massachusetts law,” said Mark Gottlieb, Executive Director of PHAI. “We care and we will put a stop to it.”

According to PHAI, the sale and shipment of flavored Puff Bar e-cigarettes to Larson and Shulman-Laniel not only violated the state’s 2019 ban on flavored e-cigarettes, it also defied a Massachusetts Attorney General regulation that requires a delivery of e-cigarettes to be made only with a verified adult signature – two laws that aim to safeguard minors from dangerous products, such as Puff Bar e-cigarettes.

The claim also outlines multiple ways Puff Bar is being marketed to youth. A recent Puff Bar advertisement targeted youth and evoked coronavirus stay-at-home orders, stating: “We know that the inside-vibes have been . . . quite a challenge. Stay sane with Puff Bar this solo-break . . . . It’s the perfect escape from the back-to-back zoom calls, parental texts and WFH stress.”

Puff Bars are sold in 24 different flavors, including “blueberry ice,” “sour apple,” “strawberry donut,” and “mint chip” – flavors that make Puff Bars easily inhalable and attractive to teens. Puff Bar is designed to be sleek, cute, and discreet – appearing less like a nicotine delivery device and more like a harmless, fun accessory. At first glance, a Puff Bar may appear simply to be a USB drive, a design that enables young people to use Puff Bar devices surreptitiously without parents, teachers, or other adults knowing. As a disposable product, Puff Bar is also simple to use and relatively inexpensive – two features that make youth initiation especially easy.

“Puff Bar has recently flooded the e-cigarette market with a product that is designed and marketed to addict young people,” said Dick Daynard, President of the Public Health Advocacy Institute. “Puff Bar and Cool Clouds are selling Puff Bar products in Massachusetts in clear violation of state law, and we want to ensure that these dangerous products are no longer accessible to Massachusetts kids and teens.”

This claim is brought amidst a rising wave of national concern about Puff Bar products, including calls from Congress to close a federal loophole that has allowed for the proliferation of Puff Bar products amidst a nationwide ban on most e-cigarette flavors. The Massachusetts law, however, bans the sale of all flavored tobacco products with very limited exceptions.

If PHAI’s claim prevails, Puff Bar and Cool Clouds Distribution, Inc. will be required to cease their illegal sale of flavored Puff Bar e-cigarettes in Massachusetts.

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The Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) is a non-profit legal research center focused on public health law located at Northeastern University School of Law. In 2014, PHAI formed the Center for Public Health Litigation, a nonprofit law firm, which uses the civil justice system to improve public health by focusing on litigation targeting tobacco industry products, unhealthy foods, deceptive health marketing, and deceptive gambling practices.

 See the claim letter at claim letter at https://www.phaionline.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2020.6.11-Puff-Bar-93A-Letter-final.pdf



PHAI Submits Comments to FDA on Deeming Rule Focusing on E-Cigarettes

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Today the Public Health Advocacy Institute submitted comments  to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on its proposed rule to include cigars, little cigars, electronic cigarette products, and tobacco for hookah smoking among the products for which it can legally issues rules and regulations.  This is known as a “deeming rule.”  The deeming rule is a first step toward regulating tobacco products beyond the cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and roll-your-own products that the agency now regulates through its Center for Tobacco Products.

The Center for Tobacco Products solicited a wide range of comments and posed many questions to stakeholders and the public in its proposed rule.  PHAI focused its comments on the question of how best to regulate electronic cigarettes once they have been deemed tobacco products and are regulated by the FDA.

PHAI found that the vast majority of the American public believes that electronic cigarettes are a reduced risk product and that manufacturers and sellers of electronic cigarettes have marketed their products directly and indirectly as safer products.  Only tobacco products that are approved as “modified risk tobacco products” are permitted to advertise and market their products as posing a reduced risk to users.  As a result, electronic cigarette advertising focuses on other sorts of appeals such as sex appeal and conceptual themes that may attract new users and result in youth initiation. Electronic cigarettes are supposed to be an alternative to the most dangerous tobacco product, cigarettes, not a new pathway to addiction and eventual cigarette use for young people.

Electronic cigarette companies are benefiting from the perception that these are reduced risk products without going through the necessary approval process to attain that status from the FDA.

PHAI recommends:

1. Electronic cigarettes should not be approved as “new tobacco products” because the public already believes that they are reduced risk products.

2. Electronic cigarette manufacturers should apply for approval by FDA under the “modified risk tobacco product” category and demonstrate that their products will be a real benefit to public health.

3. FDA should require a statement in all electronic cigarette advertising stating that the agency has approved the product as a “modified risk tobacco product.”  If electronic cigarettes were approved only as “new tobacco products,” they could not advertise because they could not carry the statement required on all advertising.  This would ensure that there would only be advertising for electronic cigarettes that were demonstrated to be beneficial to public health and drive consumers to purchase those products that carry the proposed required FDA statement.

4. In addition, PHAI urged the agency to include premium cigars in its regulatory authority by deeming them to be tobacco products.  Even if there is no need to impose new rules on premium cigars at this time, if the need did arise, having already deemed these tobacco products as “tobacco products” for regulatory purposes would allow the FDA to issue rules and regulation should evidence indicate such a need.

and

5. PHAI urged the FDA to develop comprehensive regulations for flavors in all newly deemed tobacco products.  Candy flavors should be banned and any other flavors proposed to be retained by manufacturers should only be approved upon a showing that the flavor contributes to improving public health.

You can download PHAI’s comment here.




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