With all the controversy surrounding electronic cigarettes, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to take the fight to the courtroom. This week, we have finally seen a lawsuit take shape as California resident Eric McGovern filed a lawsuit against NJOY. He claims that NJOY advertises their e-cigarettes with false implications that e-cigs are safe for smokers, when he believes they actually cause cancer. This is going to be a tough lawsuit for McGovern to win because the defense will have plenty of research to prove that electronic cigarettes actually reduce harm rather than promote it.
McGovern’s main concern with NJOY is that he believes they are using deception in their marketing, leading people to believe e-cigarettes are a safe and healthy alternative to tobacco. In reality, he alleges that e-cigarettes have “many” of the same carcinogenic compounds found in tobacco cigarettes. While NJOY never states that e-cigs are made for smoking cessation, McGovern believes their advertising implies the fact heavily and centers on using them for this purpose.
Considering all the debate over electronic cigarettes, this lawsuit could be a landmark event for the vaping industry. It will force the United States court system to take a hard look at actual scientific research regarding electronic cigarettes. If they use adequate, unbiased research in the courtroom, this could mean that a lot of myths about e-cigs could quickly be dispelled. On the other hand, blowing a few small research reports out of proportion could be a disaster.
Electronic cigarettes are a hot topic right now and there have been a number of studies dedicated to how they impact public health. In one of the most comprehensive studies, researchers concluded that e-cigs are not causing any major risk to public health.
The scientists concluded, “Current state of knowledge about chemistry of liquids and aerosols associated with electronic cigarettes indicates that there is no evidence that vaping produces inhalable exposures to contaminants of the aerosol that would warrant health concerns by the standards that are used to ensure safety of workplaces.”
In the lawsuit, McGovern claims that e-cigs contain “many” of the same carcinogenic toxins as tobacco cigarettes, but that statement is far from true. In fact, analog cigarettes have more than 4,000 carcinogenic compounds and almost all of them are eliminated with electronic cigarettes.
The fact that McGovern chose NJOY as his target is really surprising, considering they tend to be extra careful to avoid making cessation claims in their marketing. After prior involvement with the FDA in discussions about e-cig use and safety, NJOY presents electronic cigarettes as an alternative rather than a smoking cessation aide.
It will be really interesting to see how the court system handles this lawsuit. The prosecution team certainly has a big job ahead to prove that e-cigarettes cause cancer. There just isn’t research out there to back those claims. On the other hand, the defense will be well armed with comprehensive studies to show that electronic cigarettes are not causing any substantial public health risk. Do you think the court will treat e-cigs fairly or will there be a noticeable bias?