Tobacco companies have sent a thinly veiled warning to ministers that a decision to press ahead with plain packaging for cigarettes in England could be challenged through the courts.

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said on Thursday she would draw up regulations to force manufacturers to sell cigarettes in plain, unbranded packs, after an independent report concluded the measure is “highly likely” to discourage children from smoking.

The report by paediatrician, Sir Cyril Chantler, concluded that plain packaging which has already been introduced in Australia is “very likely to lead to a modest but important reduction” in both the uptake and prevalence of smoking.

But British American Tobacco, the world s second biggest tobacco company, said the measure “fails to respect our minimum guaranteed rights on trade mark protection, contravenes EU law, affects property rights under UK law and infringes the UK s obligations under international law”.

Japan Tobacco International (JTI) warned it would “if necessary challenge” measures such as plain packaging which would “without justification deprive JTI of its most significant property”.

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Tobacco companies had hoped the Government would be persuaded to abandon plain packaging after recent figures from Australia showed legal tobacco sales increased in the 12 months following the policy s introduction in December 2012.

“Sir Cyril Chantler has chosen to disregard the evidence on plain packaging from Australia the only country in the world to have implemented it,” said Marlboro maker Philip Morris.

“Plain packaging has failed to cut smoking rates, has not deterred youth smokers and has been accompanied by a dramatic growth of the black market,” the company added.

The Government carried out a consultation on plain packaging in 2012 but the plans appeared to have been shelved last summer when the Prime Minister, David Cameron, suggested there was considerable legal uncertainty around the policy.

Ms Ellison said on Thursday she would publish draft regulations which would be subject to a final and “short” consultation.

E-cigarettes and the law: njoy’s craig weiss on proposed regulations – hit & run :

Cops: cheap cigarettes fencing operation – chicago tribune

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported earlier this week that e cigarette liquid is linked to an increase in phone calls to U.S. poison control centers. Reason‘s Jacob Sullum reported on the findings

The total number of calls to poison control centers related to e cigarettes during the 42 month period covered by the CDC study was 2,405, or 57 per month. These cases were not necessarily serious enough to require medical attention. The study says “the most common adverse health effects in e cigarette exposure calls were vomiting, nausea, and eye irritation.” According to the Times, about a quarter of such calls lead to hospital visits.

Poisoning reports involving e cigarette fluid are still a tiny fraction of poisoning reports involving products the CDC is not warning us about, such as analgesics, cosmetics, cleaning fluids, anthistamines, pesticides, vitamins, and plants, all of which generate thousands of calls to poison control centers each month. In all these cases, the solution to preventing the poisoning of little children is the same keep little children away from poison.

When it comes to adults, caution in handling e cigarette fluid, which can be absorbed through the skin or eyes, seems appropriate, although not always. According to the Times, the only fatality caused by e cigarette fluid so far was a suicide by a man who injected it.

Last year, Reason TV interviewed NJOY CEO Craig Weiss to gain insight into the e cigarette industry. Original airdate was October 29, 2013, and the original writeup is below.

“Our product is as much a cigarette as a car is an electric horse,” says Craig Weiss, CEO of e cigarette maker NJOY. “But it’s got the word ‘cigarette’ in it and it’s very hard to un ring that bell.”

NJOY is a leading manufacturer of electronic cigarettes, and is on the front lines of the regulatory fight over the new technology. (Full disclosure NJOY is also a donor to Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes Reason TV.) Weiss recently sat down with Tracy Oppenheimer to discuss the burgeoning “vaping” industry, what’s fueling the explosion of e cigarette use, and calls to regulate the product like traditional tobacco cigarettes.

“Our policymakers in government should be making all of their decisions based on science and data, not on conjecture, not on ‘Well, if it looks like a cigarette it must be a cigarette,'” argues Weiss. “That’s not data. That’s not science, and that’s not how we should be making decisions.”

Produced by Tracy Oppenheimer. Camera by Zach Weissmueller.

Music by I, Cactus, “Chartreuse Cactus”

About 7 minutes.

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