Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price Wins Preliminary Injunction Shutting Down Online Sales of Flavored Tobacco Vapes by Livermore-based Apollo E-Cigs
District Attorney Pamela Price announces that the Alameda County Superior Court has issued a groundbreaking decision enjoining Apollo E-cigs from selling flavored tobacco products online, rejecting the defendant’s argument that California’s new state ban on flavored tobacco only applies to in-person retail sales.
October 20, 2023 LIVERMORE, CA – On Wednesday, October 11, 2023, Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price obtained a preliminary injunction against a major Livermore-based flavored tobacco company, Apollo Future Technology, which does business as Apollo E-cigs. This preliminary injunction extends and expands on the temporary restraining order issued September 1, 2023, shutting down Apollo’s illegal flavored tobacco and synthetic cannabis operation for as long as the District Attorney’s lawsuit is underway.
“We are pleased that the Superior Court recognized the gravity of this situation, in particular the danger that Apollo E-Cigs’ unlawful actions pose to the children of Alameda County and the State of California,” said District Attorney Price. “The Court has now confirmed the merit of our lawsuit, shutting down a major bad actor that we believe may have been manufacturing and selling as many as tens of thousands of banned flavored vapes each month.”
The District Attorney’s groundbreaking civil prosecution represents one of the first enforcement actions to shut down a tobacco manufacturer and seller for violating SB 793, California’s ban on the retail sale of flavored tobacco products. Critically, the Superior Court’s preliminary injunction bars Apollo E-Cigs from selling flavored tobacco products and tobacco flavor enhancers online, explicitly rejecting Apollo’s argument that California’s flavored tobacco ban only applies to in-person sales at retail locations. The Court’s written opinion states in barring Apollo E-Cigs from selling flavored tobacco products online, “[n]othing in these [laws] requires the retailer and the consumer to be dealing with each other face-to-face at the retailer’s physical retail premises.”
The District Attorney’s civil prosecution is the result of a multi-agency investigation conducted by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, the Livermore Police Department, California’s Department of Public Health, and California’s Department of Tax and Fee Administration. As the allegations set forth in the District Attorney’s public court filings state, defendants used the Livermore warehouse as their base of operations to sell banned flavored tobacco products — predominantly “vapes” and “vape juice” — to individuals under the age of 21. The District Attorney’s lawsuit also alleges that Apollo sold products through its websites without verifying the purchasers’ ages as required by law, illegally shipped its flavored tobacco products through the U.S. Postal Service without complying with California’s delivery requirements and manufactured and sold thousands of synthetic cannabis products in packaging that falsely claimed the products were legal, natural industrial hemp products containing less than 0.3% THC.
“This is a game of whack-a-mole, and we have to shut down these companies if they keep breaking our laws,” said Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District Trustee Kristie Wang. Wang is a co-founder of Flavors Addict Kids-Livermore, which advocated for the 2019 passage of the City of Livermore’s restrictions on the sale of flavored tobacco products and e-cigarettes. “We have passed laws to keep these addictive products out of our communities, but bad actor companies continue to sell to our youth. As a mom and school board member, I have seen first-hand the harms caused by flavored tobacco products and electronic vape devices. Today’s announcement shows how serious we are as a community about taking on this problem.”
“I want to once again thank the City of Livermore and our State partners for their assistance in this investigation,” said District Attorney Price. “We are proud that the Court agreed with our arguments and has now issued a significant new precedent that will empower our partner agencies to shut down online retailers of banned flavored tobacco products statewide. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office stands ready to provide its expertise to our partner agencies across California in their own actions to protect our children from these dangerous, addictive products.”
## Contact: Public Information Officer Paola Laverde // firstname.lastname@example.org (510)777-2303
The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office (DAO) is one of California’s largest prosecutors’ offices and is led by Alameda County’s first Black woman District Attorney Pamela Y. Price. Price brings her vision to this office to fairly administer justice in the pursuit of thriving, healthy, and safe communities for every person who steps foot in Alameda County, no matter their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, income, or zip code. Price has been recognized as one of the most progressive prosecutors through her forward-thinking, innovative strategies to interrupt cycles of violence and crime and bring change to a criminal justice system rooted in systemic racism.