The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has taken online e-cigarette company, The Joystick Company Pty Ltd, to Federal Court alleging the company is making false claims that its products are free from toxins, specifically formaldehyde.
The company claims that its products are “independent from” chemicals typically found in traditional cigarettes, and that they were approved by the ACCC.
The ACCC, however, disagrees. In fact, it had recently issued three infringement notices to Joystick alleging a number of “false or misleading representations.” When Joystick refused to pay the penalties as required per the infringement notices and maintained its claims of pure products, ACCC moved forward with independent testing.
The products tested positive for formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acrolein.
“It is crucial that suppliers have scientific evidence to support claims that their products do not contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde,” said Sarah Court, ACCC Commissioner. “This is particularly important when, as here, products are designed to be inhaled and are being differentiated from conventional tobacco cigarettes because they are claimed not to contain toxic chemicals.”
Last June, two other e-cigarette retailers, Social-Lites Pty Ltd and Elusion New Zealand Limited, were also brought to Federal Court for similar claims of false advertising.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified formaldehyde and acetaldehyde as carcinogens, and acrolein is classified as a toxic chemical and listed as a “dangerous poison.”
Most e-cigarettes have also been found to contain diacetyl and its substitute, 2,3-pentanedione. The two chemicals have been linked to bronchiolitis obliterans – or “popcorn lung” – a serious lung disease in which the smallest airways of the lungs become scarred and restricted, diminishing breathing.