E-cigarette sellers sue government agencies for exaggerating vaping risk

The Korea Electronic Cigarette Association (KECA), a group of about 4,000 e-cigarette sellers, said it had filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) and the Agency. Korea Disease Control and Prevention (KDCA), demanding the government correct misinformation about e-cigarettes.

The Korea Electronic Cigarette Association has filed a lawsuit against the government for allegedly causing financial damage to e-cigarette-related small business owners with incorrect information.

The Korea Electronic Cigarette Association has filed a lawsuit against the government for allegedly causing financial damage to e-cigarette-related small business owners with incorrect information.

KECA says government health agencies damaged the reputation of small e-cigarette business owners and caused financial problems by distributing a press release recommending Koreans stop using liquid e-cigarettes on October 23. 2019.

“According to the US FDA notice banning the sale of liquid-type e-cigarettes, which was the basis for the MOHW’s decision advising smokers to stop using e-cigarettes, tetrahydrocannabinol, a substance derived from hemp, was the main problem.” KECA said.

In 2019, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there were 530 confirmed serious lung diseases and eight deaths in the United States linked to the use of liquid-type e-cigarettes, which led the FDA to ban e-cigarettes.

“However, at the time of the announcement of the MOHW recommendation, there was only one suspected case of lung injury in Korea, and even the suspected case was from a person who smoked tobacco,” said the KECA.

According to an article published in the Journal of Korean Medical Science (JKMS) in December 2021, there have been no cases of severe pneumonia or lung damage among liquid e-cigarette users, the group added.

Despite the research findings, the MOHW’s failure to withdraw its strong recommendation to suspend the use of liquid e-cigarettes can only be understood as a neglect of duty, KECA continued.

The e-cigarette association also highlighted the issues in the KDCA’s press release, titled “Liquid E-Cigarettes Spread Fine Dust Farther and Farther than Cigarettes,” distributed on July 21.

“The fine dust measured by the KDCA was based on the light scattering method, which inevitably results in higher fine dust concentrations in more humid areas,” KECA said. “Despite these issues, measuring and comparing high-vapor liquid e-cigarettes in the same environment as tobacco is an inappropriate research method that completely ignores the specificity of liquid e-cigarettes.”

The KDCA experiment is as absurd as claiming that the level of fine dust is high when turning on a humidifier, KECA argued.

The e-cigarette association said the government had previously recognized e-cigarettes as safer than tobacco.

“According to Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) test results in 2017, very low levels of harmful ingredients were detected in liquid e-cigarettes compared to tobacco,” KECA said. “Notably, tar and carbon monoxide were not detected at all, and formaldehyde was only at the 1/20 level and acetaldehyde at the 1/500 level of regular cigarettes.”

Despite the huge difference in the content of harmful substances between regular cigarettes and liquid e-cigarettes, the MOHW issued a public service advertisement for quitting smoking on the premise that all cigarettes are equally harmful, KECA added. .

As a result, KECA said the government has given the public “a false perception” that liquid e-cigarettes are equally harmful, causing enormous economic and psychological damage to e-cigarette business owners.

“We will do our best to win a lawsuit with the government by preparing all the scientific evidence and logic to resolve the injustice to the small e-cigarette business owners who have not been able to have their voices heard,” said KECA Vice President Kim Do-hwan. said.

Regarding the lawsuit, a MOHW spokesperson said the relevant division will carefully check the details of the complaint against them and respond to the lawsuit with other agencies, such as KDCA and MFDS.

Ashley C. Reynolds