The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has brought proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia against an online e-cigarette retailer for alleged false or misleading representations. The Joystick Company Pty Ltd (Joystick) made various claims in respect of its products, including that they do not contain any toxins or formaldehyde, are "independent from" chemicals found in conventional cigarettes, and have been approved by the ACCC.

The ACCC pursued the matter after independent testing indicated that Joystick's e-cigarette product contained toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, which the World Health Organisation classifies as carcinogenic. Proceedings have also been issued against two other e-cigarette companies regarding similar false or misleading representations.

The proceedings follow Joystick's failure to pay three infringement notices issued by the ACCC in relation to the alleged representations. ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court stated that the ACCC's action "reflects the ACCC's policy that enforcement proceedings will be considered against businesses which do not pay the penalties specified in infringement notices within the payment period".

The ACCC is seeking pecuniary penalties, declarations, injunctions, orders for an ACL compliance program, publication orders and costs. The media release by the ACCC is accessible here.