Health zealots fail in dopey proceedings against Phillip Morris

Health zealots inside the Ministry of Health who pushed to prosecute Phillip Morris have failed and splattered egg all over their faces.

Stuff reports:

A judge has sided with tobacco giant Philip Morris in ruling non-burning tobacco sticks Heets can be legally sold in, and imported into, New Zealand.

The Ministry of Health laid two charges against Philip Morris New Zealand last year over the sale and importation of the tobacco sticks, which are heated in an electronic device called IQOS to release nicotine.

The ministry argued Heets fell into the category of tobacco products designed for oral use other than smoking, and were prohibited under Section 29 of the Smoke-Free Environments Act 1990.

But Judge Patrick Butler dismissed the charges in the Wellington District Court on Tuesday, ruling the product fell outside that scope.

The section of the smokefree law in question was not intended to apply to products such as Heets, and banning the product would be contradictory to what the act was trying to achieve, the judge said.

Parent company Philip Morris International announced recently it wanted to stop selling cigarettes, instead promoting alternatives such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco.

Philip Morris NZ general manager Jason Erickson welcomed the decision, but said the court case highlighted the need to reform e-cigarette and smokeless product regulations.

“To achieve the Smokefree 2025 goal, men and women who smoke in New Zealand need freely available information and access to a range of better alternatives to cigarettes, including nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products such as Heets,” Erickson said.

“Regulations should give all players – including small and local businesses – the ability to compete in the marketplace and accelerate conversion away from cigarettes to potentially less harmful alternatives …” End of quote.

E-cigs deliver a 95% healthier alternative delivery mechanism for nicotine. The health zealots, however, want to ban them completely. This was a good test of their stupidity and they failed.

Other health campaigners embarking on ideologically based law suits like this should take heed. They better have the law and the science on their side or they will lose… both the case and their credibility.

Good on Phillip Morris for sticking up for themselves. They’ve given the Ministry of Health a good kicking in the process and ensured that it is unlikely the ministry will embark on such crusades again for the foreseeable future.

Tomorrow I will reveal similar zealotry and collusion between health officials and health campaigners to attack a private company. It’s a shame that private company doesn’t do what Phillip Morris did and stick up for themselves.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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