Federal Trade Commission to investigate liquid nicotine retailers for deceptive practices

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US Sen. Ed Markey, others call on Federal Trade Commission to investigate liquid nicotine retailers for deceptive practices

By Shannon Young

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and other congressional lawmakers recently asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate liquid nicotine retailers for unfair or deceptive practices, following reports that the product is being marketed as recognizable candy brand flavors.

In a letter to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, Markey and eight other senators pointed to a report by child advocacy organization First Focus, which they said found several cases of retailers advertising liquid nicotine, which is used in e-cigarettes, as candy names, breakfast cereal and other food items in what appeared to be an attempt to make the product more attractive to younger smokers or children.

They called the trade practice “unseemly” and said it warrants action by the FTC.

“Liquid nicotine poses an especially serious threat to children,” the senators wrote. “Ingesting as little as one-half teaspoon of liquid nicotine can cause severe stomachaches, vomiting, seizures, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing and even death. Children do not understand that liquid nicotine is poison.”

Stressing that kids could be drawn to liquid nicotine bottles with labels of familiar brands, like Swedish Fish or A&W Root Beer, they argued that “we must not tolerate the marketing of a harmful chemical to teenagers and children – especially under the imprimatur of recognizable brands – an advertising activity plainly undertaken to create a new generation of nicotine-addicted smokers or ‘vapers.'”

In addition to the FTC letter, the senators said they have also sent letters to 147 liquid nicotine retailers, asking that they stop employing such marketing efforts, as well as to 25 corporations whose trademarks are being used, asking if they are aware of it and intend to respond.

Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Jack Reed, D-R.I., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Al Franken, D-Minn., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., also signed onto the letters.

Read the full article and learn more about Deceptive Advertising here.

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Disclaimer:  This article is provided for informational purposes only. It’s not legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is created. Neither the author nor FTC Guardian, Inc. is endorsed by the Federal Trade Commission.


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