Unfortunately the Philippine government appears to be going in the opposite direction, as lawmakers push for new restrictions on the sale and use of e-cigs. This comes on top of a WHO-inspired ban on indoor vaping.
There’s more bad news for a US e-liquid manufacturer, as a major corporation finally gets fed up of trademark theft and launches a court case.
UK releases new tobacco control plan
The British government released a new tobacco control plan on Tuesday, following months of lobbying by ASH and other state-funded pressure groups. It’s not quite clear why a new plan was needed, apart from to justify the funding of the groups involved in carrying it out – since the previous one expired, smoking prevalence in the UK has been falling at record rates – but the government has caved into pressure and released one anyway. For vapers it isn’t actually bad news.
While the plan’s introduction gives credit for falling smoking rates to measures like plain packs and smoking bans, buried in the body of the report is an acknowledgement that e-cigarettes have actually played a major role. Page 15 gives unambiguous government backing for reduced harm products and stresses that vaping is much less dangerous than smoking. This section commits Public Health England to adding pro-vaping messages to anti-smoking campaigns, which will hopefully counter negative perceptions driven by the misleading claims of some journalists and anti-nicotine activists.
Gum maker sues e-liquid firm for IP theft
Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., one of the world’s best-known manufacturers of chewing gum, has filed a trademark infringement case against a Chicago-based e-liquid maker, alleging that Chi-Town Vapers has stolen Wrigley’s distinctive branding and used it on their own products. This isn’t a new complaint; in July 2014 Wrigley ordered Chi-Town to stop using images of Doublemint, Juicy Fruit and other Wrigley products on their website to advertise liquid flavours.
It seems that Chi-Town obeyed the initial warning, but in 2015 they started using slightly modified names, such as Dbl Mint and Joosy Froot, with branding that still closely resembled Wrigley products. Now Wrigley have had enough and are taking Chi-Town to federal court.
Wrigley have an extensive, but reasonable, list of demands; they want an injunction to stop Chi-Town using their branding, punitive damages and for all Chi-Town products with the offending branding to be turned over to them for destruction.
Philippines pushes for e-cig crackdown
The government of the Philippines is being urged to fast-track a strict new regulatory framework for vapour products this week, following an apparent move to implement the World Health organisation’s hostile policy towards e-cigarettes. Recently the Department of Health announced that, following WHO guidance, they would ban vaping in enclosed public spaces. Now Representative Rodel Batocabe is pushing for even more regulations.
Batocabe’s bill would regulate the packaging, marketing, distribution, sale and use of vapour products. Reporting so far has been short on details, but there are some ominous hints. For example, in a move apparently lifted from the EU TPD, it would require all products to be registered with the government three months before they go on sale. In the fast-moving vapour product market this means they will be borderline obsolete before they even go on sale.
Unfortunately, it’s likely the bill will become law in the near future. Under fanatical puritan Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines is currently carrying out one of the most violent and lethal lifestyle purges in history. An estimated 7,000 drug users have been murdered in the last two years, and smokers are also facing harsh restrictions. Now it seems vapers are next in line.
E-cigs blamed for Minsk battery explosion
Dramatic footage from a metro station in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, has been blamed on an electronic cigarette. The security video shows a woman dropping a small object into her bag as she walks along the station platform; seconds later a small explosion and flames erupt from the bag.
Predictably, the incident was immediately blamed on an exploding e-cig, although there’s no easy way to explain why a device would explode so rapidly after being put in a bag. However, the video suggests that what she actually dropped into the bag was a loose battery. As many incidents have shown, a loose battery will explode if it’s put in a bag or pocket which contains metal objects.
Sadly, this is a common misrepresentation made by the media; any battery explosion is now likely to be blamed on e-cigs, while in fact the cause is unsafe battery handling by users – the chances of a battery malfunctioning while fitted to a modern, regulated mod are basically zero.