UK e-cigarette maker challenges Tobacco Products Directive

Posted on 20 Aug 2014 by The Manufacturer

The UK's biggest electronic cigarette manufacturer has launched a legal challenge to the EU's Tobacco Products Directive after claiming it breached one of its laws.

Totally Wicked, based in Blackburn, has taken the action after citing a breach in Article 20 of the directive.

It claims Article 20 represents a disproportionate impediment to the free movement of goods and provisions of services.

Specifically, it says electronic cigarettes are placed at an unjustified competitive disadvantage to tobacco products, while failing to comply with EU equality principles and breaching the rights of e-cigarette companies.

Fraser Cropper, managing director of Totally Wicked, said the reasons for taking action are justified.

“Not only is Article 20 therefore disproportionate, we believe it is also contrary to EU law,” he said.

“It is for these reasons that we have taken the significant step to challenge the Directive in the courts and we are delighted with the progress made to date.”

Totally Wicked has obtained permission from the UK’s Administrative Court to bring a judicial review action challenging the above, following an Order made in July.

Permission was obtained after issuing court proceedings against the Secretary of State for Health, which asked the UK court to refer the lawfulness of Article 20 for a “preliminary ruling” by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in Luxembourg.

A hearing will now take place in October, where an Administrative Court judge will determine whether a reference should be made and if so, the terms of the questions being referred.