Sweets makers work to keep names off e-cigarettes - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Sweets makers work to keep names off e-cigarettes

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File). FILE - In this April 23, 2014 file photo, an electronic cigarette is demonstrated in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File). FILE - In this April 23, 2014 file photo, an electronic cigarette is demonstrated in Chicago.

By MICHAEL FELBERBAUM
AP Tobacco Writer

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Owners of brands geared toward children of all ages are battling to keep notable names like Thin Mint, Tootsie Roll and Cinnamon Toast Crunch off the flavored nicotine used in electronic cigarettes.

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. They want to make sure their brands aren't being used to sell an addictive drug or make it appealing to children.

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 on 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.

It's growing pains for the industry that reached nearly $2 billion in sales last year in the face of looming regulation. E-cigarette users say the devices address both the addictive and behavioral aspects of smoking without the thousands of chemicals found in regular cigarettes.

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.

"Using the Thin Mint name - which is synonymous with Girl Scouts and everything we do to enrich the lives of girls - to market e-cigarettes to youth is deceitful and shameless," Girl Scouts spokeswoman Kelly Parisi said in a statement.

The issue of illegally using well-known brands on e-cigarette products isn't new for some. For a couple of years, cigarette makers R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and Philip Morris USA have fought legal battles with websites selling e-cigarette liquid capitalizing on their Camel and Marlboro brand names and imagery. The companies have since released their own e-cigarettes but without using their top-selling brand names.

"It's the age-old problem with an emerging market," said Linc Williams, board member of the American E-liquid Manufacturing Standards Association and an executive at NicVape Inc., which produces liquid nicotine. "As companies goes through their maturity process of going from being a wild entrepreneur to starting to establish real corporate ethics and product stewardship, it's something that we're going to continue to see."

Williams said his company is renaming many of its liquids to names that won't be associated with well-known brands. Some companies demanded NicVape stop using brand names such as Junior Mints on their liquid nicotine. In other cases, the company is taking proactive steps to removing imagery and names like gummy bear that could be appealing to children.

"Unfortunately it's not going to change unless companies come in and assert their intellectual property," he said.

And that's what companies are starting to do more often as the industry has rocketed from thousands of users in 2006 to several million worldwide, bringing the issue to the forefront.

"We're family oriented. A lot of kids eat our products, we have many adults also, but our big concern is we have to protect the trademark," said Ellen Gordon, president and chief operating officer of Tootsie Roll Industries Inc. "When you have well-known trademarks, one of your responsibilities is to protect (them) because it's been such a big investment over the years."

___

Michael Felberbaum can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/MLFelberbaum.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Headlines from Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, Fulton & Monroe CountiesNewsMore>>

  • First Alert 10-Day Forecast: Cool and breezy Wednesday, nice weekend ahead

    First Alert 10-Day Forecast: Cool and breezy Wednesday, nice weekend ahead

    (Source: WTOL)(Source: WTOL)

    Areas of fog, mist and light rain will continue overnight into Wednesday morning. Low temperatures will be in the 40s.

    More >>

    Areas of fog, mist and light rain will continue overnight into Wednesday morning. Low temperatures will be in the 40s.

    More >>
  • $400K budget was created for the James Worley murder trial

    $400K budget was created for the James Worley murder trial

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 5:13 PM EDT2018-04-24 21:13:55 GMT
    You can't truly put a price tag on justice for a family and community who lost someone as special as Sierah Joughin. But when it comes to hoping to cover everything in the James Worley vs. the People case at the Fulton County Courthouse,  a county budget dollar amount was set aside. After research and a lot of guessing, the county auditor added a line item to the county's budget of $400,000. Everything from the defense attorneys, expert witnesses, sequestering the ju...More >>
    You can't truly put a price tag on justice for a family and community who lost someone as special as Sierah Joughin. But when it comes to hoping to cover everything in the James Worley vs. the People case at the Fulton County Courthouse,  a county budget dollar amount was set aside. After research and a lot of guessing, the county auditor added a line item to the county's budget of $400,000. Everything from the defense attorneys, expert witnesses, sequestering the ju...More >>
  • Sewer lines being installed for Erie Township homes

    Sewer lines being installed for Erie Township homes

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 5:01 PM EDT2018-04-24 21:01:56 GMT
    (Source: WTOL)(Source: WTOL)
    (Source: WTOL)(Source: WTOL)

    The upgrades are necessary, not only to work towards improving Lake Erie water quality, but to ensure that the community can maintain for future economic and development growth.

    More >>

    The upgrades are necessary, not only to work towards improving Lake Erie water quality, but to ensure that the community can maintain for future economic and development growth.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly