Electronic cigarettes: which legislation?
A tobacco product? An ordinary consumer good? What is an electronic cigarette? Lawmakers throughout the world still debate. Electronic cigarettes remain in a legal limbo despite their success. Let’s try to clear up the great confusion you may feel when facing the various existing or planned laws about e-cigarettes.
What’s the problem?
Invented by Chinese engineer Honk Lik in 2003, the e-cigarette is a young product still unidentified or misindentified by laws . In november 2012, the World Health Organization pointed out the three main issues on which states have to legislate: the lack of studies about the harms of e-cigarettes on health , the uncertainty of its legal nature and the risk it becomes a way in smoking traditional cigarettes, especially for young consumers.
What is the legal defintion of e-cigarette?
Under which legal status must e-cigarettes be put? Until now, a few things have been explored to frame e-cigarettes. Between 2008 and 2010, the FDA (Food and Drug Adminisrtation) tried to place it on the market as a pharmaceutical product. Shortly after, it placed it under the regulation of tobacco products. Given the peculiarities of the product and its evolution between 2008 and 2012, those two attempts resulted in failures.
Most countries have this debate. In February 2014, the EU voted a directive to frame the e-cigarette market: the TPD (Tobacco Product Directive). Depending on its nicotine content, e-cigarettes will be defined either as a tobacco product or as a pharmaceutical product. Its selling and its consuming will be strictly framed. We can mention the prohibition of different kinds of flavour, of smoking in collective space, the framing of selling in specialized shops, the prohibition of selling to minors , the limitation of nicotine content at 2 ml.
World Tour of regulations
– In the US : the FDA did not regulate the e-cigarette selling at the federal level but some cities and states have. Most states allow the selling to minors and advertisement on The Internet or on TV. Cities like New York, Chicago or Los Angeles have prohibited vaping in public spaces and selling to minors
– Australia, Colombia , Singapor, Iceland or Switzeland have prohibited the selling of e-cigarettes that contain nicotine.
– Canada and Denmark : the marketing and importation of e-cigarettes is put on hold until more thorrow studies on vaping risks are made.
– France has started to legislate. The Plan Anti-tabac was announced on September 25th and aims to restrict the use of e-cigarettes. Promoting e-cigarettes will be banned from 2016 as well as vaping in some public spaces, especially in public transportation.