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Brands aim to stop e-cigarette makers from using their trademarked names

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) Photo: Image by Getty Images

Brands aim to stop e-cigarette makers from using their trademarked names

By Phyllis Stark. CREATED May 26, 2014

If you like your electronic cigarettes to taste like popular brands of candy, cereal or even Girl Scout cookies, you may be out of luck.

Manufacturers of brands aimed at children are fighting through legal channels to keep their brand names off the vials of flavored nicotine used in e-cigarettes.
 
According to the Washington Post, “General Mills Inc., the Girl Scouts of the USA and Tootsie Roll Industries Inc. are among several companies that have sent cease-and-desist letters to makers of the liquid nicotine demanding they stop using the brands and may take further legal action if necessary.”
 
The companies are aiming to stop liquid nicotine from begin sold under trademarked names such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Thin Mint, Tootsie Roll and Junior Mints.
 
As the Post reports, “The actions highlight the debate about the array of flavors available for the battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution, creating vapor that users inhale. The Food and Drug Administration last month proposed regulating electronic cigarettes but didn’t immediately ban fruit or candy flavors, which are barred for use in regular cigarettes because of the worry that the flavors are used to appeal to children.”
 
The Girl Scouts organization calls the e-cigarette industry’s use of the brand name Thin Mint “deceitful and shameless.”
 
The Post reports, “There are about 1,500 e-liquid makers in the U.S. and countless others abroad selling vials of nicotine from traditional tobacco to cherry cola on the Internet and in retail stores, often featuring photos of the popular treats. Using the brand name like Thin Mint or Fireball conjures up a very specific flavor in buyers’ minds, in a way that just ‘mint chocolate’ or ‘cinnamon’ doesn’t.”
 
The fast-growing e-cigarette industry brought in nearly $2 billion in sales last year, according to the Post. “The industry has rocketed from thousands of users in 2006 to several million worldwide.”
Phyllis Stark

Phyllis Stark

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Phyllis Stark is the Digital Executive Producer - National Content for Journal Broadcast Group.