A STAT news report claims R.J. Reynolds has sent letters to several small vape shops threatening to sue if the shops do not stop selling flavored vaping products.
The STAT news story claims to have obtained two letters, both of which were sent in March, giving the vape shops just a few days to confirm they will no longer sell flavored tobacco products.
Failure to comply could result in “legal action, and the costs, attorneys’ fees, and adverse publicity to which a lawsuit would subject [the vape shop],” the letters warn, according to STAT.
The letters, which were sent to stores in New Jersey and Alabama, also warn that the shops are violating local laws regulating the sale of flavored tobacco.
The New Jersey letter also copies the county prosecutor where the vape shop is located, in an apparent attempt to notify the local authorities of the violation.
he letters are the latest example — and a marked escalation — of Reynolds’ campaign to force a crackdown on illegal vaping products.
In the article, Clive Bates, a tobacco harm reduction advocate, criticized Reynolds.
“I do not think Reynolds should be hounding vape shops for selling life-saving products to their regular customers,” Bates wrote in an email to STAT. “It should not be picking on little guys, but pressing federal bureaucracies to do their job, and do it better.”
In February, RAI Services Company, a Reynolds company, submitted a citizen petition asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to adopt a new enforcement policy directed at flavored “illegally marketed disposable electronic nicotine delivery system” (ENDS) products.
The petition was filed on Feb. 6 and posted by the FDA to Regulations.gov for public comment on Feb. 8.