(CN) – Sottera, one of the nation’s largest electronic cigarette makers, has agreed to stop targeting minors and claiming its products are a safe alternative to smoking, California officials said Tuesday.
Attorney General Edmund Brown says Sottera agreed to adopt measures addressing his concerns about the dangers of electronic cigarettes, or battery-operated devices with nicotine cartridges designed to look and feel like traditional cigarettes.
“Electronic cigarette companies have targeted minors with fruit-flavored products and misleading claims that their products are safe,” Brown said. “This settlement will stop Sottera from marketing these dangerous and addictive products to kids.”
Sottera and other “e-cig” makers have claimed in advertisements that their products are safe because they have no carcinogens, tar or second-hand smoke, Brown says.
But the Food and Drug Administration has found that e-cigs contain a variety of dangerous chemicals, including nicotine and carcinogens such as nitrosamines, according to Brown. In at least one case, he claims, e-cigs were found to contain antifreeze.
Under the settlement, Sottera has agreed not to sell e-cigs to minors, sell flavored e-cig cartridges that could appeal to minors, advertise its product as a device that can help people quit smoking, sell cartridges that contain vitamins unless they’re scientifically proven to boost health, or claim its e-cigs are safer than cigarettes without scientific proof.
Sottera also agreed to pay $85,000 in penalties and fees.