British e-cigarette company Totally Wicked wants to stop the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) from classing electronic cigarettes as tobacco products. It has been granted the right to challenge the TPD, which will come into force in 2016.
At a hearing on Monday at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Mr. Justice Green decided that a ‘preliminary ruling’ reference should be made to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), to decide whether Article 20 of the TPD beaches European Union law.
The hearing is expected to take place at the CJEU next year.
Managing Director of Totally Wicked, Fraser Cropper, says e-cigarettes contain no tobacco and thus should not be classed as “tobacco related products” in EU regulations.
Totally Wicked says e-cigarettes have the potential to render tobacco cigarettes obsolete, an evolution that would prevent millions of tobacco-smoking-related deaths.
Tobacco products, especially tobacco cigarettes, is a multibillion dollar global business. Governments also collect billions of dollars each year in taxes from smokers.
With an e-cigarette, the user inhales vapor, which may (or may not) contain nicotine. It has no tobacco.
The TPD may undermine the availability of good quality e-cigarettes and e-liquids, the company added. This could jeopardize the “life-changing potential of e-cigarettes, resulting in a major detrimental impact on the public health of millions of people across the EU.”
Regarding Mr. Justice Green’s decision on Monday, Mr. Cropper said:
“Today marks an important step in our legal challenge. Article 20 of the TPD would result in electronic cigarettes being subjected to a stricter regulatory regime than some tobacco products. Not only is this article therefore disproportionate, we believe it is also contrary to established EU law. It is therefore vitally important that the UK court has decided that the CJEU should make a ruling on the lawfulness of Article 20.”
“For the sake of e-cigarette users and potential users, it is vital that our industry is allowed to mature within a proportionate regulatory framework, which supports appropriate controls and safety requirements, and necessary social responsibility and continues to provide consumer choice to maximize the enormous potential of these products. Article 20 of this Directive patently will not deliver this environment.”
Totally Wicked’s lawyer, Susan Garrett, described the TPD as a misconceived and disproportionate attempt to regulate e-cigarettes.
e-liquid poisoning threat to toddlers
A recent study carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States showed that the number of calls regarding nicotine-containing e-liquids exploded from one per month in 2010 to 215 per month four years later.
According to the CDC study, e-cigarette replacement cartridges are placed in pretty packages that small children find tempting.
The average tobacco cigarette contains two milligrams of nicotine (in the smoke inhaled). A lethal dose for an adult is between 40 to 60 milligrams. E-liquid cartridges can contain up to 70 milligrams of nicotine.
It does not take that many drops of the nicotine-containing liquid to seriously affect a toddlers heartbeat. There have been reported cases of toddlers developing cardiac arrest, convulsions and even comas after ingesting the liquid.
In August 2014, the CDC reported that in 2013 a total of 263,000 children who had never smoked a tobacco cigarette used electronic cigarettes. This is a huge increase from the 79,000 registered in 2011.