A class action lawsuit was filed November of last year against Five Pawns, an e-liquid manufacturer, over claims that the company has been false advertising.
The California-based company makes e-liquids that are used in electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), or for “vaping,” and has obtained the reputation of being a luxury brand. The liquids have been found to contain two chemicals, diacetyl (DA) and its close cousin acetyl propionyl (AP).
AP is safe to eat in trace amounts. Diacetyl has been linked with a serious lung issues such as obliterative bronchiolitis. Diacetyl is at its peak potency when it is heated before it is inhaled.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern Division of the Central District of California is handling the class action litigation, filed by named plaintiffs Duane Robert Greene, Shawn Randall Thomas and James Hirtzel. The plaintiffs allege that the company has made false, deceptive and misleading claims about its products.
The lawsuit alleges that certain flavors of Five Pawn’s e-liquids “contain the highest concentration of DA and AP levels of any e-liquid,” but that the company fails to warn of these potential dangers on any of its products’ packaging or labels.
Obliterative bronchiolitis is a condition in which the smallest airways of the lungs become damaged, and scar tissue builds up as the body’s natural healing process. The scar tissue then blocks the airways, causing serious issues such as shortness of breath, fatigue, a chronic cough, and extreme asthmatic symptoms. Obliterative bronchiolitis is often misdiagnosed as emphysema, or even pneumonia.
The lawsuit states that the plaintiffs are seeking damages totaling more than $5 million.
“Five Pawns is leading the industry with regard to safety and transparency on this issue and we intend to vigorously dispute the claims and allegations in the lawsuit,” the company said in a statement released by its attorney. The company also asserts that the suit is “unfounded and without merit.”