Attorney General Maura Healey is suing an online e-cigarette company called “Puff Bar” for selling disposable flavored tobacco products in Massachusetts in violation of state law, her office on Thursday.
The complaint, filed in Suffolk Superior Court on Wednesday, alleges that Puff Bar and Cool Clouds Distribution, Inc. continued advertising and selling disposable flavored tobacco products after they were banned in Massachusetts in November 2019.
“This company’s practices — selling flavored products and delivering products to minors — are plainly illegal under Massachusetts law,” Healey said, in a statement. “These products are dangerous, addictive and particularly appealing to young people, which is why Massachusetts moved quickly to regulate them. Companies that blatantly violate these laws will face legal action from my office.”
Healey is also seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the sale of any more illegal products while the case is playing out in court. The suit alleges that Puff Bar violated An Act Modernizing Tobacco Regulations, the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act and the AG’s e-cigarette regulations.
Massachusetts was the first state in the U.S to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and e-liquids. The law was implemented on June 1, 2020, which included the prohibition of all menthol flavored tobacco products.
The law also imposed a 75% excise tax on e-cigarettes, a rate similar to the tax on traditional cigarettes. Insurers will be required to cover smoking cessation counseling and products without copays.
Though retailers are no longer able to sell flavored nicotine vapes, sales will be allowed to continue under the new law at smoking bars, which are age-restricted and require users to consume the products on-site.
But unflavored vapes can still be sold in Mass. New regulations adopted by the Department of Public Health days after Gov. Charlie Baker signed the new law specify that convenience stores and gas stations can continue selling unflavored nicotine vapes so long as their nicotine concentration is less than 35 milligrams per milliliter of vaping solution.
Unflavored vapes with nicotine concentrations of more than 35 milligrams per milliliter of vaping solution can only be sold at licensed, adult-only retail tobacco stores and smoking bars, according to the new regulations.