Tobacco

New York City Sues 4 E-Cigarette Distributors

Claims vendors are selling flavored vapes against city, state a federal laws
New York City Mayor Eric Adams vape lawsuit
Photograph courtesy of New York City Office of the Mayor

New York City has filed a federal lawsuit against four major distributors of flavored disposable e-cigarettes, alleging they are selling their products to business and consumers in the city despite a city law prohibiting the sale of flavored vape products.

The four defendants are Magellan Technology Inc. and Demand Vape, both based in Buffalo, New York; Mahant Krupa 56 LLC dba Empire Vape Distributors, based in Queens; and Star Vape, based in Brooklyn. All are alleged to have distributed, and continue to distribute, exotically flavored disposable e-cigarettes to retail vape and smoke shops, convenience stores and directly to consumers in New York City through online sales, “in violation of nearly every applicable federal, New York state and New York City law governing the sale of such products.”

The lawsuit, filed Monday, seeks to block the four defendants from further sales of these illegal items and seeks both monetary damages and fines.

“There is nothing more important than the health of young New Yorkers, but while these four distributors have chosen profits over people, we won’t sit idly by as they continue to poison our children,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “Even though the packaging and flavoring of some of these products might seem harmless, they are 100% harmful. These products are packed with nicotine, a toxic and highly addictive chemical that is particularly damaging to adolescent minds and bodies. We will do whatever it takes to keep our children safe, and today’s lawsuit seeks to put an end to the greedy, harmful, and openly illegal behavior of these four nicotine pushers.”

The lawsuit filed in the U.S District Court for the Southern District of New York seeks to enjoin all four defendants from further illegal sales that not only constitute a public nuisance and mail and wire fraud, but are also specifically in violation of New York City’s Administrative Code, New York State Public Health Law, the federal Tobacco Control Act, the federal Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, and the federal government’s Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act. The city also seeks to recover monetary damages and civil penalties from the defendants, potentially totaling millions.

“The city’s lawsuit represents a significant enforcement step against distributors that are fueling an epidemic of e-cigarette use among youth in our city,” said New York City Corporation Counsel Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix. “The aim of this lawsuit is to put a stop to this illegal conduct and protect our youth against these highly addictive and dangerous products.”

New York banned the sale of flavored vape products in 2019. Despite these laws, city agencies documented thousands of illegal sales of flavored vapes by city stores in 2022, the city said, and levied thousands of dollars in fines.

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