Lawyers and investors have been suing tobacco companies for more than a decade over the risks they are placing on their businesses, claiming the companies are abusing their patents to harm their bottom line.
This week, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reported on a case that involved tobacco companies in India, where the companies have faced a series of lawsuits from investors claiming they are overcharging them.
In a new report on the tobacco industry, ICIJ researchers found that the tobacco companies are using a series to try to intimidate investors and the public.
The case involved India’s National Tobacco Control Board (NTB), which issued a series, known as the ‘Borak Directive’, that banned sales of e-cigarettes to minors.
The report said the NTB used a series against e-cigarette companies, including the Indian e-cig manufacturer, Nicor, to pressure them to stop selling to minors and to cease making misleading statements about their products.
The series was meant to “influence the tobacco firms’ business and financial performance,” the report said.
It said the tobacco company, Bhopal Tobacco Company Limited, had “sought to discredit” the research and claimed it had “no business relationship with any of the firms in question.”
The report cited documents, court filings and public documents as evidence that the NTBs “has been using litigation as a tool to coerce companies into changing their policies, which in turn, have in turn hurt the tobacco firm’s bottom line.”
The NTBs’ efforts included the creation of a website to encourage e-cigs to be marketed to minors, the filing of an affidavit in the court, and the posting of videos on YouTube that portrayed the e-gigs as being unsafe, the report added.
The tobacco companies also tried to pressure Indian e,cig manufacturers to withdraw their products from the market.
The NTB has denied any wrongdoing, according to the report.
The Indian Tobacco Regulatory Authority (ITRA), which is the primary regulator of e cigarettes in India and is based in New Delhi, also said it has “no relationship” with any company.
The regulator said it was working with the government to develop a framework for “regulatory and compliance monitoring” of e cigarette products.
In India, the Indian government has issued directives for the ban on e-tobaccos and tobacco products.
But the NTs actions have not been universally accepted.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also said the bans are not working, while the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has said the ban has “significant limitations.”
The United States, however, has been the main consumer of e cigs in recent years, with e-Cigarette sales rising in 2015, up more than 50% from 2014, according for the first six months of 2017.
It was one of the top three countries for e-liquids worldwide in 2017, according the report, followed by China, the United Kingdom and Germany.
The WHO, however is warning that e-liquid is still a risky product, with up to 30% of users becoming addicted to nicotine and nearly 10% becoming dependent on it.
The New York Times reported last month that e cigarettes have become more popular in the United States in recent months, but also cited a 2015 survey from the University of Rochester that showed that nearly half of all e-vapor users have been using nicotine replacement therapies.