On June 20, the most anticipated lawsuit challenging the FDA’s deeming ban was filed. The Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition sued in the US District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of 11 plaintiffs, and with the support of every major advocacy group in the country.
The suit challenges parts of the deeming regulations and the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act on several grounds, including violations of the Administrative Procedures Act and the First Amendment to the Constitution. The suit alleges eight violations in all.
The Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition was formed to fight unconstitutional state and federal e-cig and vaping laws. Its original focus was challenging the recently passed HEA 1432 in Indiana, which the coalition’s lawyers have challenged in both state and federal courts. Those efforts are still in progress. R2B retained the services of Washington, D.C. legal firm Keller and Heckman, LLC. Keller partner Azim Chowdhury is recognized as an expert in vapor products law, and he has handled the vaping cases.
Long time vapers will remember the DC District Court as the same one that decided against the FDA in the Sottera (NJoy) case that opened the market for e-cigarettes. On January 14, 2010, Judge Richard Leon ruled against the FDA, saying that e-cigarettes were not drug delivery devices, and rebuking the agency for its regulatory overreach. The District Court of Appeals later upheld his decision. Will the DC District Court deliver justice for vapers again?
The plaintiffs in the new lawsuit are:
The R2B suit has also been endorsed by all major American vaping advocacy organizations who weren’t named in the suit, including CASAA, Not Blowing Smoke, SEVIA USA, and SFATA. While vapor businesses will certainly bear most of the cost, everyone who is a stakeholder in the fight to keep vapor products legal and available should consider donating to the fund supporting this lawsuit.