Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Legal challenge to EU Tobacco Products Directive

It is something which many in the electronic cigarette industry have been waiting some time for, a legal challenge to the ongoing EU Tobacco Products Directive. Those inside the industry have always believed it was just a matter of time before the European Union was taken to task over its heavy-handed and allegedly ill-advised Tobacco Products Directive. So where does this leave the European electronic cigarette industry and could this legal action really be successful?

Opening the floodgates

As we await further confirmation of the ongoing legal challenge the European Union will be running scared with a court of law likely to make public the facts, figures and professional advice used to create the EU Tobacco Products Directive. There have been rumours for some time that the original research note on which the advice was based was misconstrued with the author even stepping forward to suggest his words had been taken out of context and used to push forward with a predetermined policy.

There have been rumours and counter rumours with regards to any influence used over the European Union with allegations that those with a vested interest outside of electronic cigarette industry were flexing their financial muscles. So far there has been no direct response from the European Union although this is a story which is very much in its early stages and likely to run for some time.

Would electronic cigarettes become less competitive?

The legal action suggests that the Tobacco Products Directive would result in electronic cigarettes being even more heavily regulated than their tobacco cigarette counterparts. The argument is that this is disproportionate and indeed potentially contrary to established EU law. If this is the case, and those bringing the case believe they have a strong argument, it will at worst delay the onset of stricter regulations and at best it could force the European Union to retreat and think again.

It is not very often that we see the inner workings of the EU although there are many vapers who hope this legal action goes the full term through the courts and exposes the European Union's way of thinking and the way in which advice is sought. Whether or not it will confirm suspicions of influential parties working with the European Union remains to be seen but there could well be some very interesting fallout from this action.


It was only a matter of time before the EU Tobacco Products Directive came under the microscope of vapers and electronic cigarette companies. This is something which the European Union will have been waiting for and while there has been little in the way of response yet it will be interesting to see the path that European leaders take. It is a similar scenario to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) situation in the US some years ago and likely to at least delay the onset of stricter regulations. This action could even force a total rethink by the EU!

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