Escaping the EU directive on e-cigarettes


I’ve written  and presented many times on the utter mess the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD 2014/40/EU) has made of regulating low-risk alternatives to smoking: notably Article 20 that regulates e-cigarettes and Article 17 that bans snus.

EU legislation is especially ill-suited to regulating new disruptive and controversial technologies that regulators don’t understand – see my discussion of regulating disruptive technology. Directives are produced by a kind of committee pinball game that reflect prejudices, esoteric beliefs and haggling of people with little knowledge of what they are dealing with and no accountability for the outcome or damage done.  But once agreed, they are really hard to reverse or amend, and they are a good reason to do only what is necessary at European level.

Here’re the escape routes I can think of. Continue reading “Escaping the EU directive on e-cigarettes”

10 ways to improve Matt Myers’ letter to the New York Times


In a recent column, New York Times columnist Joe Nocera invited Matt Myers, President of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, to change direction and lead a campaign to exploit the public health potential of e-cigarettes by finding a better form of regulation than that in preparation at the FDA. In a response letter to the NYT, Matt declined this genuine and flattering invitation. Here I take a look at the exchange and then suggest 10 ways Matt Myers’ response letter could be improved. Continue reading “10 ways to improve Matt Myers’ letter to the New York Times”

Regulating disruptive technologies – three papers

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 16.40.17

In 2013, Goldman Sachs declared e-cigarettes to be a disruptive technology: the search for creative destruction

Eight Disruptive Themes

(1) E-cigarettes: The potential to transform the tobacco industry. Imagine a product that is possibly >99% less harmful than cigarettes, delivers a similar use experience and offers a better economic bargain— this is the proposition of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs). We believe e-cigs have the potential to alter the status quo of the US tobacco market and accelerate the volume decline of traditional cigarettes.

But what does the academic literature tell us about regulating disruptive new technologies like e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products or novel nicotine products?  If you want to get beyond zealous proposals for outright bans, crude restrictions and gratuitous burdens you will need to bypass the health journals and consult scholarship in academic law journals.  Here are three paper that offer useful insights – none deal explicitly with tobacco or nicotine. Sadly, there is little sign that these insights have been grasped by FDA, the European Union or WHO.  Continue reading “Regulating disruptive technologies – three papers”

Totally Wicked legal challenge to the Tobacco Products Directive e-cigarette measures

Where the hubris and ignorance of European Union legislators is brought painfully to account

This page explains the Totally Wicked legal action against the European Union Tobacco Products Directive, Article 20 – the section that deal with e-cigarettes.

Update. The Totally Wicked case was dismissed on 4th May 2016. No appeal is possible. Continue reading “Totally Wicked legal challenge to the Tobacco Products Directive e-cigarette measures”

Tobacco Products Directive – what next and what can be done?

Dog’s breakfast: update on the TPD

As the revised Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) draws closer to implementation by 20 May 2016, many are wondering what can be done about this dire piece of legislation – at least as it applies to ‘tobacco harm reduction’: e-cigarettes (Article 20), novel tobacco products (Article 19) and snus (Article 17).  I have discussed its multiple failings here: What’s wrong with the tobacco products directive for vapour products and here’s Chris Snowdon’s concise briefing for EPICENTER

But what can be done now…? This post is in three parts:

  1. Where we are
  2. What can be done
  3. Options for making progress – a few ideas


Continue reading “Tobacco Products Directive – what next and what can be done?”