One of vaping’s most effective advocacy voices may have been silenced. NJOY, a pioneering e-cigarette manufacturer, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
NJOY is most famous for the Sottera decision, in which the U.S. District Court held that the FDA could not regulate vapor products as unregulated drug delivery devices. After Judge Richard Leon ruled for Sottera (as NJOY was known), the FDA appealed. In December 2010, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Leon’s decision, and the FDA began the long process of regulating vape as tobacco products.
If the decision had gone the other way and the FDA’s vape ban had been allowed to stand, vaping might have never gotten off the ground.
NJOY was founded by Arizona attorney Mark Weiss. After blu E-Cigs was bought by Lorillard in 2012, NJOY was the largest e-cigarette manufacturer not owned by a tobacco company. They used their market strength as a platform to fund advocacy for vapor products.
Their lobbying efforts spilled over to the open-systems vapor companies, and to their trade organizations and even to consumer advocacy. Many who work now fighting for the vapor industry and for vapers credit NJOY’s Brian Fojtik and Pamela Gorman for valuable training and advice on dealing with legislators, especially at the state and local levels.
NJOY’s mission is to end smoking-related death and disease by offering preferred alternatives to adult smokers and vapers around the world. In doing so, they hope to make the combustion cigarette obsolete.
NJOY has primarily been a manufacturer of disposable cigalikes. But two years ago, the company introduced a line of premium e-liquid called The Artist Collection, four flavors mixed by well-known independent e-liquid creators. But the company was caught between its core business and the new and expanding market. It never really found a place in the open-systems world.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily spell the end of the company. The court could decide to allow reorganization, either under the current ownership’s guidance or run by NJOYs creditors.
If not for the Weiss family’s commitment to stand up for vaping — gambling their money and futures on the fight — the entire industry might have failed before it had a chance. Whether they’ve used NJOY products or not, all vapers owe the company a debt of gratitude. This is a sad day for vaping.