The city of Chicago has sued an e-cigarette seller over its alleged sales of flavored tobacco products and for marketing to minors, saying the sit flaunts its defiance of both federal regulations and local age restrictions on buying tobacco and electronic cigarettes.
The complaint states that Vapes.com, which is owned by Equte LLC, markets and sells flavored e-cigarettes to residents, despite a new law passed in September that makes it illegal to sell such products to Chicagoans.
“E-Cigarettes are unhealthy and addictive, and businesses deliberately target young people in the hope that they’ll develop lifelong customers,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. “The City of Chicago’s message to vaping companies is clear: If you break the law, we will go after you, especially if you try to sell to our youth.”
While the minimum age for buying tobacco in Chicago is 21 years old, Vapes.com and its social media platforms only ask that users be 18 and over and don’t employ the “age gate” features that YouTube and Instagram offer.
The city say it has filed a number of lawsuits against vape companies for selling to underage Chicagoans, but this is the first suit seeking to enforce the recently passed prohibition against flavored vaping products.
As the FDA began its crackdown on the vaping industry last year for allegedly targeting minors and getting them addicted to nicotine, it warned retailers about selling fruit-flavored e-cigarette products without approval.