A California consumer has filed a class action lawsuit against Fumizer, LLC alleging the company made false claims that their e-cigarettes can aid smokers in quitting cigarettes, while neglecting to inform consumers of other alleged health risks.
The Plaintiff, Joseph Sheppard, is a California resident and electronic cigarette user. He alleges that he bought a Fumizer brand e-cigarette under the assumption that “Fumizer’s products did not carry danger or risk like traditional cigarettes do and was safe to use.” According to the suit, Fumizer’s marketing materials claimed its product is “healthy,” ignoring studies showing that e-cigarettes still contain some of the carcinogens and toxins in tobacco cigarettes as well as other harmful chemicals.
“There is widespread agreement in the scientific community that further research is necessary before the full negative effects of electronic cigarette use on users’ health can be known and that until then, manufacturers, sellers and distributors of electronic cigarettes should not make any representations relating to the safety, health or benefits, if any, of electronic cigarettes,” the suit said.
Sheppard further contends that Fumizer misrepresented consumers by claiming that Fumizer’s e-cigarette manual states it can “help you quit smoking.” The complaint states that “these representations are contradictory and hypocritical because [the packaging] asserts Fumizer e-cigarettes are ‘neither intended nor marked as a quit smoking aid.’ As a result, consumers were led to believing that “Fumizer E-Cigarettes can ‘help you quit smoking.’”
The complaint additionally attacks claims allegedly made by Fumizer that its devices could be used anywhere. Numerous cities in California have banned e-cigarettes in public places, according to the suit.
The suit comes just weeks after the Utah Department of Commerce announced an enforcement action against three e-cigarette companies for alleged violations of state consumer protection laws. The Utah action pertains to advertising that the products could be “smoked anywhere” in alleged violation of the State Indoor Clean Air Act. Other claims by the Utah Department of Commerce pertain to advertising that the products were healthier alternatives to cigarettes and could reduce health risks. It appears that one of the companies has settled the charges, with charges pending against the other two.
Sheppard’s complaint seeks unspecified damages for violations of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act, unfair competition, deceptive advertising and breach of express warranty. The case is Joseph Sheppard v. Fumizer LLC, case number BC558408, in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles.