Cigarette Company is First to Formally Challenge Tobacco Products
TOTALLY Wicked, the UK's
leading electronic cigarette manufacturer has launched a legal
challenge to the European Union's recently adopted Tobacco Products
Directive on the grounds that Article 20 of the Directive breaches
established EU law.
Specifically, that Article 20 represents a disproportionate
impediment to the free movement of goods and the free provision of
services, places electronic cigarettes at an unjustified competitive
disadvantage to tobacco products, fails to comply with the general
EU principle of equality, and breaches the fundamental rights of
electronic cigarette manufacturers.
Totally Wicked has obtained permission from the UK's Administrative
Court to bring a judicial review action challenging the above,
following an Order made by Mr Justice Supperstone on the 31 July
2014. 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
by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in Luxembourg.
Significantly, having considered Totally Wicked's claim and
supporting evidence, the Secretary of State for Health has accepted
that it would be appropriate for the issues raised by Totally Wicked
to be referred to the CJEU for a ruling. Whilst maintaining that
Article 20 is lawful, the Secretary of State has not objected to
Totally Wicked pursuing a claim and has consented to a reference to
CJEU being made.
A hearing will now take place in London on the 6 October 2014, where
an Administrative Court judge will determine whether a reference
should be made and if so, the terms of the questions being referred.
Totally Wicked's lawyers are liaising with the Treasury Solicitor,
acting for the Secretary of State, to try and agree draft terms of
reference with a view to this being approved by the court in
The parties, and Mr Justice Supperstone, have agreed that the matter
should be dealt with urgently given the proposed implementation date
of May 2016. That is if the matter is referred to CJEU, it is expected a hearing to take
place in 2015 to determine whether Article 20 breaches EU law.
Fraser Cropper, Managing Director of Totally Wicked said:-
"Many of the regulations contained within Article 20 of the Tobacco
Products Directive would result is electronic cigarettes being
subjected to a stricter regulatory regime than some tobacco
products. Not only is Article 20 therefore disproportionate, we
believe it is also contrary to established EU law. It is for these
reasons that we have taken the significant step to challenge
formally the Directive in the courts and we are delighted with the
progress made to date. For nearly 30 million people in the EU,
electronic cigarettes have and continue to provide a viable
alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes. They have enabled those
using them to leave smoking behind, either on a full or part time
basis. Electronic cigarettes have the potential to be one of the
great transformational products of the 21st century. This Directive,
if implemented in its current form, will severely hamper this
potential and force many people back to smoking tobacco cigarettes.
For the sake of electronic 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."
own posters expose service and safety risks of axing conductors from
THE Rail Union - RMT has demanded
that Northern Rail explain to the travelling public why they are
issuing posters setting out the service and safety role of the
conductors on their trains while going along with Government plans
for the new franchise which would axe the guards/conductors and move
the whole service over to Driver Only Operation.
The poster is being displayed on trains across the Northern Rail
routes and says:- "Our priority is to keep you safe, so if you
have any concerns please speak to the conductor. The conductor on
this train will be happy to:- Sell you a ticket - Provide any
help and information you need."
The reassurance of the safety critical role played by the
conductor / guard, promoted by Northern in their publiCity campaign,
is totally at odds with the Government consultation on the future of
the franchise, which closed on Monday and which clearly sets out
Driver Only Operation as the operational model.
Mick Cash, RMT Acting General Secretary, said:- "RMT has
argued that the conductor/guard role on our trains is essential in
delivering both a safe environment and high quality services. That
position is backed up by Northern in their external publiCity while
behind the scenes they are conniving with the Government to axe
those very same staff in the future. The whole situation stinks and
exposes again that the new franchises are about nothing more than
maximising profits. RMT has made it absolutely clear that the campaign to stop the carve
up of jobs and services on Northern and Trans-Pennine Express has
only reached round one and RMT is now moving into the next phase.
The role of the conductor/guard on our trains remains central to
Politicians across the North need to recognise that if they don't
oppose the plans to rip apart rail services in the region in the
name of profit then they will be called to account by an electorate
that RMT will ensure is fully aware of the issues. The only
solution to this racketeering on our railway tracks is public
ownership and the return of our railways to the people on the basis
that they are run as a public service and not as a get rich quick
scheme for greedy private train companies."