EAST Lancashire electronic cigarette and e-liquid manufacturer Totally Wicked has failed in its challenge to Brussels’ latest Tobacco Products Directive.

The European Union ruling, which takes effect on May 20, makes its merchandise a ‘tobacco related product’, despite not containing tobacco.


The directive subjects the products to more stringent regulation than some tobacco products.

Yesterday, the European Court of Justice said extensive standardisation of cigarette packaging, the future prohibition on menthol cigarettes and the special rules for e-cigarettes are lawful.

The decision means picture health warnings will have to dominate the front and back of all packaging.

It includes a ban on menthol cigarettes and ‘lipstick-style’ packs aimed at women. Blackburn’s Totally Wicked, in Stancliffe Street, had challenged the new rules on e-cigarettes and liquid. The firm’s managing director, Fraser Cropper, said: “This is a bitterly disappointing end to a battle that has lasted more than two years.

“At its heart, was a fundamental dispute between those who recognise the public health potential vaping offers and therefore wish to see these products and their use flourish under a robust consumer regulatory regime, and those who either do not understand vaping or see it as a threat to established interests and therefore wish to see e-cigarettes subjected to disproportionate and inappropriate regulation.

“I am therefore disappointed, yet unsurprised, given the level of misinformation and vested interest at the heart of this Directive’s drafting, that the EU Court of Justice has ruled against our legal challenge."

“They have chosen to ignore a welter of evidence.

“In time I firmly believe that the European Commission and others who support the TPD will come to realise the terrible mistake they have made.”

Matthew Moden, of Darwen e-cig manufacturer Liberty Flight, said: “I am disappointed but not surprised at this ruling.

“If they want to reduce smoking this will do the opposite of what they want to achieve.

"Vaping is the gateway out of smoking cigarettes and tobacco not a gateway into it.” Lancashire County Council health boss and Nelson South councillor Azhar Ali said: “I welcome the decisions on tobacco packing and menthol products but I need to examine in detail the ruling on e-cigarettes and liquids.”

In February Blackburn with Darwen borough council adopted ‘a precautionary approach to e-cigarettes until research can confirm there are no health related risks associate with their use’.

North-West Euro-MP and UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall said: “This is ridiculous judgement may well mean some vapers will go back to tobacco, which is plainly not to be encouraged.”