Eight online e-cigarette retailers have been sued in Massachusetts for violation of a new state law passed last month, according to the attorney general's office.
In November, Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law a bill banning flavored tobacco and nicotine vaping products, including menthol cigarettes. The bill is meant to reduce the appeal of the product to young people amid a rash of vaping deaths across the county.
But eight online retailers violated Massachusetts laws by selling products to consumers, the attorney general's office alleges in the complaint filed Monday in Suffolk Superior Court.
"These companies are in flagrant violation of our new state law that was put in place to protect young people from the serious harms caused by vaping," Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement. "Our state has been a leader in fighting this public health crisis, and we will continue to go after companies that ignore our laws and put young people at risk."
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The companies allegedly don't use a method of mailing, shipping or delivering tobacco products that requires the signature of a person of legal age when the shipment is released. A 2015 Massachusetts regulation requires that shipments of these types be received by someone 21 or older.
The attorney general's office further alleges that the companies engaged in a number of violations which include the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act and e-cigarette regulations.
The eight companies named in the lawsuit are:
- Fuggin Vapor Co.
- Lan & Mike International Trading Inc.
- Level Up Vapor
- Next Day Vapes
- IPurchase Online
- Suorin USA
- 2nd Wife Vape, LLC
The Vapor Technology Association and local vape store owners have claimed that Baker's ban is causing irreparable damage to their businesses and will destroy a $331 million industry in Massachusetts.
A hearing on the motion for a preliminary injunction has been scheduled for Jan. 7 in Suffolk Superior Court.