EU Taken to Court by UK E-Cigs Firm Over Proposed New Laws
Let the Games Begin! In a move which will not surprise those who participate in the electronic cigarette industry, Blackburn-based e-liquids brand Totally Wicked has entered a legal challenge to the recent reclassification of electronic cigarettes under the EU Tobacco Products Directive. Considering the disoranisation which surrounded the introduction of new regulations just a few months ago, it will be interesting to see how the European Union defends its ongoing attack on the electronic cigarette industry. The simple questions being asked are, does the reclassification of the electronic cigarette industry expose some products to even greater regulation than traditional tobacco products and are the regulations actually contrary to EU law? Is this the EU's worst nightmare? There are some experts who believe that the European Union's haste to introduce new regulations to restrict growth in the electronic cigarette industry was fatally flawed. There have been accusations and counter accusations that research data used to support the reclassification of electronic cigarettes was incorrectly interpreted leaving open the potential for this legal challenge. Indeed many believe that undue pressure from third parties with a vested interest against the electronic cigarette industry may well have influenced the introduction of the regulations, although it has to be said these accusations are as yet unproven. It will be interesting to see whether this legal action ends up in the courts because then we could see the release of an array of supporting EU documentation into the public domain. This is probably the EU's worst nightmare when you bear in mind the various accusations swirling around at this moment in time. Will this legal action have any impact upon future regulations? At this moment in time, with an initial court hearing scheduled for 6 October 2014, it is difficult to say what if any impact this move will have upon the proposed regulations which come into force in 2016. It seems that all parties involved will look to exhaust the various legal options available creating an action which could drag through the courts for many years and delay the introduction of new regulations in 2016. The European Union has not responded to the legal action at this moment in time and will no doubt be consulting its own lawyers on the strength of the case and the basis on which it is being brought. Those who follow the US electronic cigarette industry will likely see many similarities with a court action against the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) some years ago after it attempted to ban electronic cigarettes outright. This created uncertainty, massive delays and even today the new regulations proposed by the FDA have not yet hit the statute books. Vapers rejoice! News of the legal action by Totally Wicked has been well received by the vaping industry and the vaping community. Until recently the industry was seen as a relatively niche market which is perhaps one of the reasons why the regulatory community seems to have been caught on the hop somewhat. There are now millions of vapers across Europe and each day seems to bring yet more strength to the voice of the worldwide vaping community. However, will the legal action by Totally Wicked yield the rewards that so many are desperate for?