The European Court of Justice rejected an appeal lodged by Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco. The challenge was brought because the firms argued the heavy-handed approach of the TPD would weigh heavily on profits and went beyond what was appropriate or necessary.
The tough EU law will standardise cigarette packs, ban menthol flavouring and (of importance to us) restrict e-cigarette advertising. The ruling paves the way for the adoption of the TPD on the 20th of this month and meats out a massive blow to the vape industry at large. Further impacts include a limit to the level of nicotine in liquids, a restriction on the size of tanks available and how vaping can be discussed on the Internet.
Surprisingly, ASH (who have previously spoken in favour of electronic cigarettes) announced they welcomed the ruling. Unsurprisingly, Martin McKee and Sally Davies welcomed it too, Davies managing to obtain a full five “Likes” for her supportive tweet – so clearly a popular opinion on the Twitter micro-blogging website.
The recent RCP report joined the previous PHE release calling for “sensible regulation.” It is an observation that has gone unheeded and will doubtless drive vapers back to smoking or into the clutches of unregulated illegal imports from non-European countries.
In fact, Clive Bates illustrated the ease and the danger of such a move in his blog this week. Bates ordered a bottle of 99% nicotine from the Far East and only had to tick a box to say he was “an expert”. The possibility of bottles like these breaking during their journey will pose a far greater risk to people than vaping ever has.
Commentators have also poured scorn on the FDA ruling. Tom Pruen, science officer for ECITA, wrote: “New to FDA regulation? Not a tobacco company? More bad news in #ecigdeeming.” Meanwhile, Joe Glitchell wrote: “The FDA just gained control over the $3-billion e-cigarette industry with one sweeping rule.”
In their 499-page release, the FDA have struck down on the previously inventive and efficient marketplace. The fact that it has been greeted so enthusiastically by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and The American Lung Association (ALA) is all the damning it needs. The ALA president said: “At last, the Food and Drug Administration will have basic authority to make science-based decisions that will protect our nation’s youth and the public health from all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.” The ALA have made a point of ignoring all the evidence to date – including the simple fact that ecigs are not tobacco products.
But even he was not completely happy: “The concern is for at least three years, flavoured e-cigarette products will remain on the market no matter how many kids are using them.” Because it doesn’t matter that the RCP found no evidence of normalisation or a gateway effect, and adults clearly don’t need flavours. And this will concern American vapers because the FDA has left the door open to ban flavoured juices in the future.
It was a day of triumph for ignorance and vested pharma interests. At what price will be their crushing of the most enjoyable and efficacious way out of smoking ever devised?