Landmark court rulings were made in Germany on three separate cases relating to the sale and supply of e-cig devices and e-liquid. The rulings have effectively declared that electronic cigarettes and e-liquids are not medical devices or medicinal products.
It’s not over yet though, the battle was won but the war still goes on. All three cases have been approved for appeal in the German Federal Administrative Court, the last and final resort to have these rulings overturned.
One of the cases had quite an ironic twist to it. It emerged that the case went to court when a woman filed a complaint against an e-cig brick and mortar retail store in Wuppertal . The local department of health in Wuppertal previously prohibited the sale of e-cig juices. It banned the sale of on the basis that they were not authorized medicinal products.
Precisely what impact these rulings may have on the EU tobacco directive draft is still not clear. First we will need to see the outcome of the appeals that are to follow. If these rulings are upheld then one would imagine that the pharmaceutical industry will be feeling a little anxious. It looks as though the pharmaceutical industry may be set to reap the rewards of the directive. If successfully introduced, it will have all e-cigs and e-liquids classed as medical devices or medicinal products. This would effectively disqualify all current products and juices on the market and all vendors would require a medical retail license.
These rulings could potentially have profound effects on the EU tobacco directive. It’s startling that the directive is still being pushed through by EU politicians. The directive has been marred by bribery allegations surrounding the former health commissioner John Dalli. In light of the alleged scandal now widely known as Dalligate, there have been repeated but unsuccessful calls to scrap the directive. Match, a Swedish snuff manufacturer, made claims that they were offered to pay 6 million Euro to thwart certain aspects of the tobacco directive.
It appears as though the EU directive is more or less in its final stages and a near certainty it will be approved on October 9th 2013 . But these German court rulings have given e-cig users across Europe a breath of fresh air and a new found hope that they may yet still be able to continue enjoying a healthier alternative to smoking. German law prevails over any inconsistent EU laws, if appeals are unsuccessful, this will set a highly interesting precedent and may well open up new debates on the proposed EU tobacco directive.