Bonn, 23 April 2012. The North Rhine‐Westphalia Superior Administrative Court ruled today that e‐cigarettes containing nicotine are not pharmaceutical products. The “warning” issued for e‐cigarettes by the North Rhine‐Westphalia Ministry of Health in a press release dated 16 December 2011 and a decree issued by the Ministry to subordinate government authorities were held to be unlawful and in violation of the fundamental right to exercise a trade or profession. The Ministry had issued a warning about e‐cigarettes because it considered them as pharmaceutical product and trading them without a licence a criminal offence. The court ordered the Ministry to henceforth refrain from making such statements and to remove the press releases from the Internet. The e‐cigarette Snoke is not a pharmaceutical product in the opinion of the High Court. The assessment by the Federal Agency for Pharmaceutical and Medical Products (BfArM) and respective statements by the Federal Government are thus considered untrue. The injunctive procedure was initiated by ecoreal GmbH & Co. KG, a company headquartered in Cologne, whose “Snoke” product range was affected by the warning.
In these proceedings, ecoreal retained the services of Dr Michael Winkelmüller and State Secretary (retired) Dr Alexander Schink of the law firm Redeker Sellner Dahs.
Dr Michael Winkelmüller, partner in the law firm, has conducted numerous proceedings on product safety, health, and consumer protection for business enterprises, associations, and public agencies over the last few years.
Prof Dr Alexander Schink, Counsel for the Redeker Sellner Dahs law firm, has been working for many years both as a university lecturer and as an attorney and is a recognised expert in consumer protection, environmental and public planning issues.