Tobacco firms challenge flavour ban

Two tobacco companies have been granted permission by the High Court to bring a challenge over a new EU directive banning flavoured heated tobacco products, reports
Ireland is set to implement the new EU law by next July. But the country’s oldest tobacco manufacturer, PJ Carroll and Co Ltd, along with UK marketing and sales firm, Nicoventures Trading Ltd, claim the EU directive is invalid. Their challenge is against the Minister for Health, Ireland and the Attorney General.
Under previous regulations, flavoured heated tobacco products were not banned, but this was changed by the EU Commission which wants member states to implement the ban by July 23rd.
In 2021, PJ Carroll, which currently holds 10 per cent of the Irish market for e-cigarettes, said it had taken steps to market heated tobacco products in Ireland, including flavoured ones. However, the company says that the banning of these products by the EU severely undermined its “ability to capitalise fully on the unique opportunity of being the first company to launch heated tobacco products on the Irish market for adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke”.
Simon Carroll, a director and head of trade in PJ Carrolls, said in an affidavit the ban will also undermine significant investment by the British American Tobacco (BAT) group, which the Irish and UK firms are part of, in the development of “products with reduced risk profile (relative to cigarettes) to cater to the preferences of adult smokers in Ireland who would otherwise continue to smoke”. The ban also has significant implications for the implementation of public health policy and anti-smoking campaigns where there are acceptable alternatives to traditional cigarettes, he said.
PJ Carroll and Nicoventures wrote to the Minister for Health and the Chief State Solicitor and were told any court challenge in Ireland was premature as a direct EU challenge had already been initiated by a number of applicants, including PJ Carroll and Nicoventures, before the EU General Court, a part of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU).

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