Former e-cigarette retailer Eonsmoke and its co-owners settled with the state of Massachusetts on Dec. 9, 2021, announced Attorney General (A.G.) Maura Healey. The settlement includes monetary payments and orders Eonsmoke to cease selling, distributing, marketing, or advertising any tobacco product in Massachusetts.
The A.G. brought civil claims against Eonsmoke in 2019, alleging the website violated Massachusetts’s Consumer Protection Act in deliberately marketing their vaping products to youth, and in failing to ensure their products were purchased and received by people of legal smoking age.
“Eonsmoke coordinated a campaign that intentionally targeted young people and sold dangerous and addictive vaping products directly to minors through their website,” A.G. Healey said in a statement. “We were the first to take action against this company and its owners, and today we are holding them accountable and permanently stopping them from conducting these illegal practices in our state.”
In addition to the court order barring Eonsmoke from conducting further business in Massachusetts, the settlement includes a $50 million payout from Eonsmoke to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Eonsmoke co-owners Gregory Grishayev and Michael Tolmach will also pay a total of $750,000, and are required to seek Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and give notice to the A.G.’s Office if they want to sell tobacco products in Massachusetts in future.
According to the A.G.’s initial 2019 complaint, Eonsmoke and its co-owners targeted young potential smokers, utilizing social media websites such as Instagram and Snapchat. Social media influencers, celebrity endorsers, cartoons, and interne memes were all incorporated into the company’s marketing. “Eonsmoke took a page out of the Big Tobacco playbook by peddling nicotine to young people on social media,” said A.G. Healey.
Eonsmoke’s line of fruity flavored products included those with names like “gummy bear” and “cereal loops,” and contained some of the highest concentrations of nicotine on the market, despite advertisements that minimized or omitted the nicotine’s presence. The products also more closely resembled fitness bands or USBs, rather than vaping products.
From 2015 to 2018, when the A.G. office sent a cease-and-desist letter, it appears Eonsmoke did not verify their products were not being sold to minors. Their website failed to verify the ages of those purchasing the vaping products, and the company failed to ensure products were received by those over 21, the Massachusetts minimum smoking age.
A.G. Haley and her office are currently involved in ongoing investigations into other online e-cigarette retailers, including Direct Eliquid LLC and Kilo E-Liquids for similarly failing to implement an age verification system to ensure minors are not purchasing their vaping products. The A.G.’s office is also investigating Juul due to concerns over the marketing and sale of vaping products to minors.
The case is Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Eonsmoke LLC, case number 1984CV01728, in Suffolk County Superior Court. Click here to view A.G.’s press release. The final consent judgment and amended complaint can be found here.