TOP 9 LIES TOLD BY US E-CIGARETTE COMPANIES

Tobacco retailers and distributors have been regaling me with stories about their interactions with e-cigarette companies and brokers the past three years or so.  As a result of these tales, I have put together a top nine list of the biggest lies told by e-cigarette interests to key members of the retail tobacco and smoking alternative supply chain.

1. We have our own patents.  (OK- let’s see them- but don’t bother unless they’re US patents!!)

2. We don’t infringe on anybody else’s patents. (OK- let’s see the legal opinion and it better not be an opinion by your wife’s cousin who went to law school somewhere in the Caribbean.  But, when all is said and done- only the courts will determine whether or not a product infringes.)

3. We will indemnify you in the case of litigation.  (OK- just what does that mean?  Will you cover the costs of litigation?  Will you cover the cost of a settlement?  Will you cover the cost of an adverse judgment?  Do you expect to be in business three years from now when all of this legal and regulatory confusion is finally decided, provided it gets a speedy disposition?)

4. Our products are made in the US.  (Where in the US?  Can I see the factory?  Are you making them here or just assembling them? [By the way, just because you get your nicotine from Dow Chemical doesn’t mean it was processed in the US.])

5. We guarantee our product.  (What the hell do you guarantee?  That it will sell?  Do you guarantee its quality or safety, its shelf life? That it doesn’t infringe.  That it won’t get banned by the FDA?  I can’t get you to replace the defects I have already sent back to you!)

6. Consumers prefer our taste over all other e-cigs.  (OK- let’s set up a focus group and prove it.)

7. Our products are FDA approved. (Right, in what parallel universe did some other FDA approve your product and nobody else’s product?)

8.  We’re OK with the FDA because we don’t sell flavors.  (There is no prohibition against flavors for e-cigs- THEY ARE CURRENTLY NON-REGULATED TOBACCO PRODUCTS!  Whether you make and sell flavors today has no relevance as to whether you’re OK with the FDA.)

8. Dragonite/Ruyan- they’re the guys in China with the US patents- called us to tell us that our product does not infringe.  (Right- because that’s what they do- Dragonite has its lawyers examine all e-cigs sold in the US, sue those that infringe and call the ones that don’t to assure them that they have nothing to worry about.  See earlier comment about a parallel universe.)

9. Our batteries are safe.  (No they’re not- not as long as they’re cheap small, powerful lithium batteries in a “disposable” product.  Ever replaced your cell phone battery?   $50-$60 bucks at the low end and they have been known to blow up.  What do you think your $0.60 battery is likely to do under extreme conditions?)

This list is not meant to be an indictment of e-cigarettes, but an indictment of some of the clueless, deceptive folks who import them and then use any means necessary to get them placed at retail.  Since first writing this, I have been besieged by e-mails informing me of other lies.  So stay tuned for part two sometime in the future.

 

34 comments ↓

#1 Jason Healy on 07.27.12 at 2:21 PM

Very short and sweet, no opinion just pure facts. Love it and amazed someone hasn’t done it early, well done guys.

#2 Ssdf@sdf.com on 07.27.12 at 3:35 PM

I think the funnier facts are the so called “premium brands” when they all sell the same thing.

#3 Bill Godshall on 07.27.12 at 4:37 PM

The list includes ten (not 9) purported lies (as two items are listed as number 8).

I’ve only heard several of these claims being made, but then again I rarely deal with e-cig sales reps, who (like sales reps for other products) often rely upon trashing their competition while making inaccurate and exaggerated claims about their own products).

Much of this will be irrelevant, however, if the FDA proposes (as it has repeatedly stated its intent to do) and then gives final approval to a “deeming” regulation that would apply Chapter IX of the FSPTCA to e-cigarettes (and other currently unreguled tobacco products).

Section 910 would ban the sale of all e-cigarette products that weren’t being sold in the US before February 15, 2007.

The non-face-to-face sales transaction regulations now being developed by the FDA could effectively ban all internet and mail order sales of e-cigs, and only their sale in brick-and-morter stores.

Section 911 would make it a federal felony for an e-cig manufacturer to truthfully claim that e-cigarettes
“are less hazardous alternatives to cigarettes” or even to truthfully claim they “are smokefree” or “don’t emit smoke”, because doing so would be an unapproved MRTP claim.

Other regulations in Chapter IX would significantly increase the price of e-cigarettes and create an e-cigarette oligopoly whereby several companies (who can most cost effectively comply with FDA regs) would replace the hundreds e-cigarette companies that now compete in market.

But instead of joining forces to expose and oppose these unwarranted, irrational and devastating “deeming” regulations, many e-cigarette companies have been instead endorsing and/or urging FDA to propose even more devastating and unwarranted regulations on e-cigarettes, including banning flavorings, banning additional forms of marketing, and having FDA conduct youth access sting operations against e-cig companies (despite no evidence that e-cigarettes are marketed to youth, and no evidence that youth are using e-cigarettes.

#4 Candy Girl on 07.27.12 at 5:16 PM

Bill, you are absolutely spot on. But, as the post exposes, many of these companies can’t be trusted. The industry requires some real leaders with real financial, legal and regulatory resources to step up, because the bad actors out there are not serving the best interests of the supply chain, the industry or the consumer. Lorillard’s entry into the fray is going to be good for all involved.

#5 Sambo on 07.28.12 at 10:10 AM

The entire e-cig industry is in its infancy and unregulated at this stage. Any and all claims for self promotion are fair game. Bigger lies have been told by the pharma, liquor and cigarette manufacturers. Don’t take offense at some schmuck trying to further his own business interests and making claims based on his level of intelligence. Laugh it off, live and let live! On a more serious note Lorillard forced blu to settle with Ruyan before buying them and has already prompted Ruyan’s lawsuits against the top 10. Lorillard’s entry will seperate the boys from the men and create the ” e-cigarette oligopoly” Bill refers to.

#6 LOU on 07.29.12 at 5:44 PM

Great comments Bill. Thank you. Jason appreciate your support of our blog’s openness to all to post relevancy!

#7 Custom Blends on 07.29.12 at 6:50 PM

Ecigs are Big Tobacco’s wet dream. Keeping people smoking where they normally cant so they can enjoy that first cowboy killer after work. Plus Ecigs make health claims Big Tobacco would get thrown in jail saying.
If I was running Altria I’d kiss every big player in that industry on the lips.

Mark

#8 Ray Story on 07.30.12 at 1:32 PM

The article was clear and factual. These new laws they speak about have actually been in the works for a long time. The TVECA has been talking and stressing to its members about age verification for a long time. Some people and brands want to use this as “today’s news”. By using a government approved age verification system, like Veratad, for non face to face transactions have been the TVECA’s goal for the last 2 years. The companies that now try to adhere to some regulation have been getting away without it for too long. Health claims have also been made daily by all these companies that don’t have a clue about this industry. Big tobacco nor big pharma will never just sit on the side lines and allow this to continue. An industry without regulation has no direction. As to financial, regulatory, and legal expertise, the TVECA has been a leader in these fields.
The TVECA.

#9 Sweetness on 08.01.12 at 12:36 AM

I think there are other ones that could be added. One that concerns me is the fact that many claim that e-cigarettes are safe. I don’t see now one can say that since long term use has not been achieved yet. I’m not denying the product is a leading offering that is of reduced harm but.just hate hearing this blind allegiance.

#10 OTP Kid on 08.08.12 at 1:22 PM

ecigs will be regulated by the fda, the price will rise, the states and the feds will tax them, and Dragonite will sue them. Right now this is a fad and it will take a few years for all that happen so sell away, but these will not be the golden eggs everyone thinks they are right now

#11 Bill Godshall on 08.13.12 at 3:52 PM

I once again strongly suggest that TVECA actually read and understand the regulations in Chapter IX of the Tobacco Control Act before endorsing those regulations (as the only way the FDA can ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors is to propose and subsequenty approve a “deeming” regulation that would apply Chapter IX regulations to e-cigarettes, and to also propose amending the 1996 Rule in Chapter IX, which currently only applies to cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, to also apply to e-cigarettes).

Seems like the TVECA has endorsed potentially forthcoming FDA regulations that would effectively ban the sale of products sold by TVECA members.

Perhaps Ray Story can explain that.

#12 Sweetness on 08.18.12 at 1:05 PM

Was thinking about this thought. Our ecigarette taste closest to the real thing. Well here’s an ashtray there buddy why not suck on that a bit. I would be wanting to say this thing really has a great taste and it works and it is refreshing also.

#13 OTP Kid on 08.22.12 at 3:27 PM

Bill, why can’t ecigs make the claim they are a safer alternative to cigarettes? Since you seem to know everything, maybe you can explain it to everyone here.

#14 OTP Kid on 09.17.12 at 4:13 PM

Bill? Bill? you there?

#15 SamboEciger on 09.18.12 at 10:12 AM

@OTP Kid. Here’s why the ecig industry cannot claim to be a safer alternative.
A few of them claimed to be a safer alternative in their early days, and had to stop, as the FDA wanted to regulate the product as a drug. Which meant all ecigs off the market till they run clinical trials costing millions of “buckaroos”. NJOY fought back in court and Judge Leon passed judgement against the FDA, but granted them the right to treat ecigs as a tobaccco product. So now the ecig industry can merrily chug along until FDA finds the time to start the regulation process. As far as your comment that this industry” is a fad”, many have stated this in the past, but the “consumer” who makes or breaks an industry is buying ecigs and helping double annual revenues. If you have not already done so, start vaping and help the ecig industry grow.

#16 OTP Kid on 09.18.12 at 2:28 PM

We will see how ecigs do when flavors are banned, taxes are imposed, and regualtory measures are implememted. In the meantime, it would be nice if we had less ecig sales people on the blog trying to sell their wares and more industry folks that knew what they were talking about on here.

#17 SamboEciger on 09.19.12 at 11:23 PM

@OTP Kid.

“Great comments Bill. Thank you. Jason appreciate your support of our blog’s openness to all to post relevancy.” This was a post on 7.29.12 by Lou who writes this blog.
FYI, Bill is a big supporter of Ecigs and was the one you were badgering for a response. And Jason is the CEO of blu ecigs.
What industry are you a part of?
As a parting comment I read a report by a reputable research company stating ” Ecigs revenues may exceed Cigarette revenues by the year 2020.” Maybe you should cross over to the Ecig industry.

#18 Ray Story on 09.20.12 at 4:34 AM

Reply to Sambo: On the history of the e-cig. Njoy was the first to try and claim a safer & healthier alternative that’s why their cartridges were sold in pill bottles. It was Smoking Everywhere that defeated the FDA and Njoy enjoined in that litigation on the FDA appeal and they changed their opinion. The TVECA is still changing laws and educating the public worldwide and making e-cigs legal as an alternative to conventional tobacco products.

The FDA will have to rely on industry leaders and special committees to set standards for e-cigarettes. Until then, it will be difficult to regulate this product more precisely with out defined parameters. We hope that all e-cigarette importers and manufacturers adhere to basic tobacco rules which will help the overall industry evolve. Age verification, advertising as well as child proof packaging are among the things to watch.

TVECA

#19 SamboEciger on 09.20.12 at 10:53 AM

@ Ray Story
Thanks for the post. The FDA has banned flavors in Cigarettes. Safe to assume they would adopt similar parameters for Ecigs?

#20 Bill Godshall on 09.20.12 at 2:21 PM

The answer to OTP Kid’s inquiry is that e-cigarette companies can now (since they aren’t regulated by Chapter IX of the FSPTCA) truthfully their products are less hazardous than cigarettes without violating Section 911 of the FSPTCA.

What e-cigarette companies cannot legally claim is that their products provide therapeutic benefits, which is why they cannot legally claim (without receiving a warning letter from FDA) that they cure a disease or even that they are smoking cessation aids (as the FDA currently views nicotine dependence as a disorder, although I think even that claim could survive a legal challenge against FDA, which no e-cig company has chosen to do yet).

Regarding Ray Story’s posting, SE withdrew its lawsuit against the FDA during the summer of 2010 after the FDA appealed the case to the DC Court of Appeals.

NJOY continued the litigation, and won the case against FDA.

I strongly urge all e-cigarette companies to carefully read every clause of Chapter IX of the FSPTCA before commenting on the FDA’s stated intent of proposing/approving a “deeming” regulation (to apply Chapter IX to e-cigarettes).

Any competent e-cigarette company lawyer (and even incompetent lawyers) would strongly advice their e-cigarette company clients to strongly oppose this deeming regulation because it would decimate the e-cigarette industry.

#21 Ray Story on 09.20.12 at 4:49 PM

This must all be a dream BILL.

Walt Linscott, Lead Counsel for Smoking Everywhere

Smoking Everywhere, Inc. is pleased with the ruling issued today that its electronic cigarette should be legally viewed as a tobacco product. Smoking Everywhere has maintained that the appropriate marketplace for its electronic cigarette is the tobacco product marketplace not the “drug” marketplace as FDA has asserted. Smoking Everywhere’s electronic cigarette is designed to compete with traditional burned tobacco products. FDA has gone to great lengths to improperly cast the electronic cigarette into the drug marketplace but Judge Leon’s ruling properly focuses the review to the proper legal area. As the Judge stated in his ruling, “This case appears to be yet another example of FDA’s aggressive efforts to regulate recreational tobacco products as drugs or devices . . .[and] [u]nfortunately, its tenacious drive to maximize its regulatory power has resulted in its advocacy of an interpretation of the relevant law that I find, at first blush, to be unreasonable and unacceptable.”

Smoking Everywhere, Inc. believes its electronic cigarette plays an important role in bringing an alternative to the use of smoked tobacco by providing the effect of a traditional cigarette without the more than 4000 toxic and harmful compounds found in cigarette smoke. The company is hopeful that with the issuance of this ruling, the focus on the risk of its product can now properly turn to a comparison of its electronic cigarette to the appropriate tobacco product benchmark, the smoke producing lit cigarette.

#22 Bill Godshall on 09.26.12 at 2:45 PM

Please note that the statement by Walt Linscott (posted by Ray Story) was issued back in January, 2010 when Judge Leon issued his ruling.

But as Ray and Walt both know, SE withdrew from its lawsuit against the FDA in the summer of 2010 after SE didn’t pay its legal bill, was sued by Walt Linscott’s lawfirm Thompson Hines, and hired new legal counsel.

#23 Sweetness on 09.27.12 at 12:20 AM

Ok here is a great new lie that is being touted. We reinvented the ecig and its revolutionary. Wonder what these guys are smoking.at times. It’s all a vapor screen to confuse the unintelligent. Actually this irritates the hell out of me. These folks just keep lying.

#24 Mark Del Monte on 01.10.13 at 8:50 PM

As opposed to the Big Tobacco and Big Pharma industries that never lied to us right ? I should have know these would be the responses I would find on a tobacco website. Amazing isn’t it that if these deeming regulations were to pass in effect banning E Cigarettes designed after 2007 and banning all online sales, we would be left with only the E Cigarettes sold in Gas Stations. Oh and lets see those brands consist of Blu Cigs (owned by big tobacco) and Njoy which is independently owned but rumored to possibly be bought by a tobacco company.

#25 AJ on 04.06.13 at 4:54 AM

You left out that traditional cigarettes cause cancer, lung disease, breast cancer & heart disease to name a few to not only the smoker but anyone around them. You should be praising anyone that in any big or small way try to sell and market a product that is clearly a safer alternative to those death sticks. Keep things in perspective. If your 16 year old child came home with a cigarette in their mouth, wouldn’t you rather it be an ecig? Seriously, whatever ecig bug bit you don’t let it impair or cloud your judgment. Ecigs maybe are not perfect but in many ways a robust start to oust one of the most nastiest plagues of disease this world has ever known. If you ever spent one minute around someone dying from cigarette smoking disease you would perhaps see things for what they really are.

#26 Robert Weiss on 05.10.13 at 10:29 AM

We at http://econsumerspot.com believe electronic cigarettes to be the future of smoking. The health benefits of eCigarettes outweigh any of the possible risks alleged by some authorities and politicians against ecigs. For smokers trying to give up conventional cigarettes they appear to be a safe and viable alternative.

#27 Jason Candri on 09.15.13 at 2:48 AM

Tobacco companies appear to be entering the ecig market themselves now. British American Tobacco for example has launched VYPE and has a big marketing drive in the UK at the moment.

#28 Jim on 10.27.13 at 12:12 PM

Yea the kiddies will try ecigs but if ecigs were banned they would go straight for tobacco cigs and that’s where it all begins ….the addiction.

I work at a university and noticed a drop in tobacco smokers and more ecig vapers. So I asked a few students “why the ecig?” ……..Most said safer than smoking without the worry of getting hooked ……..because they’re buying the “zero” nicotine strength.

Yes young people will experiment but the ecig could be an answer to help preventing a dangerous addiction, at least in my UN-scientific observations this seems to be happening

#29 Lea on 03.11.14 at 1:27 PM

In # 9 (should be 10) you compare the retail price of a cell phone battery at about 1600 to 2000 mah to the manufacturing price of a tiny 200 mah battery? No e-cig batteries sell for $0.60 and no cell phone battery costs $50 to manufacture. That’s like comparing the price of a car on a car lot to the cost of manufacturing an engine.

By reading your “lies”, I assume you own a gas station and have distributors trying to sell you disposable brands. Whatever. I own an e-cig store. I don’t sell those. If you don’t like it, then don’t sell them. Your rant is less about e-cigs and more about the distributors of the disposble brands.

PS – in my store, all the ingredients I buy to produce the e-liquid are GRAS (generally regarded as safe) by the FDA are approved for sale without regulation by the FDA and are all USP (US Pharma) grade approved. I have done much research before opening my store and the FDA that approved all 4 ingredients is in this universe.

#30 Dave Lindsay on 07.06.14 at 1:36 PM

E-Cigarettes save lives. End of Story ! I clear $1200 a week as a Union Electrician, and make the same amount per week selling a Top Brand e-cigarette ! My biggest customers are Trades People who want to QUIT Smoking Tobacco !

From Alberta(OILberta) Canada !

#31 Dave Lindsay on 07.06.14 at 1:37 PM

And I forgot, NOT one unsatisfied customer. I have to work with these guys, don’t forget!

#32 Dave Lindsay on 07.06.14 at 10:52 PM

I quit smoking TOBACCO on Feb. 26, 2014 and started vaping. Feel much better and wallet is FATTER !

#33 Really on 11.22.14 at 12:40 AM

Blow me. Remember the yellow bird in the garage?

#34 Dave Lindsay on 11.22.14 at 4:08 AM

Ha Ha Ha Ha !

The Tobacco Industry is RUNNING SCARED !

Too Bad, So Sad !

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