Totally Wicked has established themselves as a big name in electronic cigarettes and e juices throughout the world. They provide vapers in numerous countries with the supplies that they need to ditch tobacco. The fact that they help smokers to remove tobacco from their lives has become the central point of an argument that Totally Wicked is bringing to the Court of Justice of the EU. Just this week, Totally Wicked’s European branch was awarded the right to formally challenge the EU Tobacco Products Directive. Under this piece of legislation electronic cigarettes would be subject to the same restrictions and limitations that tobacco burning cigarettes must bow to in the European Union. According to the team at Totally Wicked, e cigarettes might actually be subject to more strict treatment than some tobacco products, if the law comes to pass.
The EU Tobacco Products Directive lays out the specifics for how all tobacco products will be regulated in every country in the European Union. It contains specific provisions for electronic cigarettes; how they would be introduced, marketed, sold, taxed and more in one specific section, Article 20. It is this Article that Totally Wicked is taking issue with. While their hope is that the EU will scratch e cigarettes from its list of tobacco products altogether before laws come to pass, they would like to see changes made to this section of the legislation even if vapor is to be included. Their Managing Director, Fraser Cropper, released the following statement along with the announcement of their ability to take up the fight against the impending regulation:
“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 maximise the enormous potential of these products. Article 20 of this Directive patently will not deliver this environment.”
It looks as if their argument will take two positions. First, they intend to make a case that e cigarettes should not be included in the tobacco category, period. After all, e juices do not actually contain tobacco. Unfortunately there is not a very good chance that they will win this portion of their challenge. Where they hopefully will have success is with their fight to change the language that limits how e cigarettes will be introduced, distributed and sold throughout the European Union. If the Directive is to pass, with Article 20 reading as it currently does, it would be considerably more difficult to distribute electronic cigarettes in some of the world’s largest markets. While this is obviously unfair, giving tobacco products a competitive advantage over e cigarettes could also take a toll on public health. Anything that makes it more difficult for smokers to find and purchase a well-made vapor device is clearly bad for public health.
This marks the first time that an electronic cigarette manufacturer has been granted legal authority to challenge the EU Tobacco Products Directive. The growth of the vapor community has produced several companies with the resources to take on such a fight. It is good to see that one of them is using these resources to do just that. The particulars of electronic cigarette laws can literally make or break the industry. If more money is not allotted to ensuring that the verbiage that comes to pass gives the vapor industry a fair shake, it will be detrimental to vapers everywhere. Lower quality products and higher prices will all but certainly result. Stay tuned for updates on Totally Wicked’s progress in Europe.