ALAMEDA, Calif. (CN) - Attorney General Gerry Brown wants to pull the plug on electronic cigarettes, saying they are dangerous, and companies are marketing them through celebrities like Howard Stern, who claims, "Kids love 'em." Smoking Everywhere makes battery-operated cigarettes that look like real smokes, but contain "cartridges filled with nicotine and other harmful chemicals," Brown claims in Alameda County Court.
A heating element converts the chemicals into vapor that the user inhales.
The company pushes the cigarettes as a safe, carcinogen-free alternative to traditional cigarettes.
But Brown claims that "E Cigarettes" actually contain benzene, nicotine and other chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects and other diseases.
E Cigarettes are sold in flavors "that appeal to minors," such as banana, chocolate, strawberry and cookies and cream, the complaint states.
"In one advertisement, defendants showed a video with radio show host Howard Stern claiming, 'kids love 'em,'" according to the complaint.
Brown accuses Smoking Everywhere of false advertising, unfair competition, failure to warn, and Business Code violations.
He seeks penalties, and injunction and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.