SEATTLE — Washington State is now suing California-based e-juice company called “E-Juice Vapor” accusing it of selling vaping products to minors.
The state’s controversial 120-day flavors ban expired in February of 2020, but other regulations are still in place. One law is that sellers must verify a customer’s age before selling to them.
“Bottom line, they’re violating the law in multiple ways,” said Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
“It’s an important action to make sure that businesses follow our rules and do not sell vaping products to minors, and that’s exactly what happened here,” he said in a Zoom call about the lawsuit filed Thursday.
Ferguson said their investigation team went shopping to find out which companies are breaking the law.
“What we did was essentially posed as a minor,” Ferguson said.
The lawsuit mentions investigators looked at “Candy King” branded vapor product on the California company’s site, which describes e-juice flavors like Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish.
“The investigator then purchased a different product with a similar candy-like description and did so without verifying an age or submitting any identification,” the lawsuit said. The investigator later received the product in the mail.
“On top of that, they (E-Juice Vapor) didn’t even have a license to sell vaping products in Washington State,” Ferguson said.
Under Washington law, vapor sellers online must verify the buyer’s age is at least 21 years old, using a third-party service to confirm their identity.
The WA State Department of Health says vaping in schools from 2016-2018, shot up by more than 250%,
sparking the battle against vaping and leading to the controversial 120-day flavors ban in October 2019. Cases of vape lung causing deaths across the country fueled the backlash against e-cig products.
Though the ban on flavors is over, Ferguson is making it clear the laws in place will be enforced.
The attorney general also says “E-Juice Vapors” refused to cooperate with the investigation, which means they don’t know how many minors in Washington State might be impacted.
“We’re filing a lawsuit which frankly, is the only way to get their attention at this point,” Ferguson said. It’s unclear how much the state will sue for – that will be determined after the state finds out the actual number of customers the company sold to in Washington.
The AG’s office added that investigators found about a half-dozen other companies violating WA laws, but is hoping those companies will cooperate and they’ll be able to resolve those cases outside of court.
© 2020 Cox Media Group