Did UK Secretary of State for Health encourage legal challenge by UK Ecigs Firm?
In a bizarre development it has been revealed that the ongoing legal challenge to the European Union Tobacco Products Directive may well have been encouraged by UK Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt. It now appears that before Totally Wicked could actually challenge the EU health regulations it needed to bring some kind of action against its local head of health. In this instance this is UK Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt but how did he react to the proposed legal action? As the more in-depth story regarding this legal action begins to spill into the public domain it would appear that Jeremy Hunt effectively waived through the proposed legal challenge to the next level. The next level is a direct challenge of the EU health regulations which will end up in the EU Court of Justice. Many people are now starting to ask, why did Jeremy Hunt not delay or at least attempt to block this move by Totally Wicked? Is the health minister changing his view on electronic cigarettes? Only last November we saw Jeremy Hunt putting forward his views on electronic cigarettes on behalf of the UK government. At that point in time it seemed that the UK government, in tandem with the BMA, was very keen to regulate electronic cigarettes as medical devices from 2016. Many believed that this timeframe left significant scope for legal action in the UK and the announcement last week by Totally Wicked seems to confirm this widely held view. There are two possible scenarios - one is that the UK government, in the shape of Jeremy Hunt, is warming to electronic cigarettes and the potential they offer to reduce still significant dependence upon tobacco cigarettes. There is also the possibility that Jeremy Hunt believes that Totally Wicked has a good chance of achieving a successful outcome with regards to its legal action against the European Union. Whatever the truth, inadvertently this does seem to have given the electronic cigarette industry more hope and a boost in the short-term. Are governments using research-based evidence? It is only over the last couple of years that we have seen the publication of a variety of different research programs into electronic cigarettes and the impact which they have on health. Prior to the release of this data, with more and more research programs publishing recommendations and results each month, there was an awful lot of guesswork included in various government policies. This scenario could be changing with legal challenges possible in the future highlighting the fact that many of the policy decisions still "live" today were made prior to research-based evidence being made available. Is this the real reason why Jeremy Hunt waved through the legal challenge by Totally Wicked? Conclusion It will be interesting to see whether the UK government, as well as European counterparts, looks to revise and amend its view on electronic cigarettes and vaping devices. The little-known fact that Jeremy Hunt simply waved through the initial challenge to the UK government and encouraged Totally Wicked to move to the next stage, challenging the European Union Tobacco Products Directive, will be a revelation for many people. Brought to you by: