Two Australian e-cigarette suppliers face court action over toxic chemicals in their products

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched Federal Court action against two e-cigarette online retailers, alleging they engaged in misleading conduct by claiming their products did not contain toxic chemicals.

The consumer watchdog commissioned testing of products sold by Social-Lites Pty Ltd (Social-Lites) and Elusion New Zealand Ltd (Elusion), and found they contained the same carcinogens and toxic chemicals found in conventional cigarettes, including formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein.

Formaldehyde is classified by the World Health Organisation as a Group 1A carcinogen, and acetaldehyde as a Group 2B carcinogen. The WHO classifies acrolein as a toxic chemical.

The ACCC alleges the two companies breached the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) in claims on on their websites from at least August 2015 that the e-cigarette products did not contain carcinogens or toxic chemicals, or the chemicals found in conventional cigarettes.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said e-cigarette suppliers have scientific evidence to support their claims.

“There is an increasing level of concern among international, national and state authorities regarding the composition of e-cigarettes, and the likely effects of their use. The ACCC will continue to work with its local and international counterparts to ensure consumers are receiving accurate information about these products,” Sims said.

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