Cease-and-Desist Letters Sent to E-Cigarette Companies

Back in April, I wrote a post on how e-cigarette companies were making a fortune selling and marketing Girl Scout cookie e-liquid in flavors like Thin Mint, especially to youth. After writing the blog, I wondered how these e-cigarette companies were getting away with using trademarked names to market their products.  Not only are they using Girl Scout Cookie names as their flavors but they are also using other well known “youth” brand names such as Tootsie Roll and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

At the end of May, Girl Scouts of the USA, General Mills Inc., and Tootsie Roll Industries Inc. sent cease-and-desist letters to the e-liquid companies insisting that they stop using their brand names, or else they’ll take further legal action.  I was very happy to hear that these well-known companies, which market to youth, have all taken a stand against the e-cigarette companies.

In fact, Girl Scouts spokeswoman Kelly Parisi said in a statement, “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.”  In addition, Ellen Gordon, President and Chief Operating Officer of Tootsie Roll Industries Inc. said, “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.” These companies have spent years creating a name and trademark that kids know and recognize.

It’s great to see these companies take a stand by sending cease-and-desist letters. This sends a strong message to e-cigarette companies that they will not allow ruin their brand to be ruined by being associated with any sort of harmful product. These companies do not want youth across the country trying e-liquid flavors because they associate them with their favorite Girl Scout cookie, candy or cereal.  This is a step in the right direction! Companies should value their brand and not allow it to be tarnished by the tobacco and e-cigarette industries and youth focused marketing techniques.

-Debra Levi

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