World Travel and E-Cigs
EverSmoke e-cigarette experts break down vapor smoking regulations and legislation in other countries
Here in the U.S., our own policies on the regulation of e-cigarettes are so confusing. While the selling, use, and advertisement of e-cigs is permitted federally, individual states have weighed in and created their own independent restrictions. But this confusion is hardly limited to America.
E-cigarettes have spread to nearly all corners of the globe, and where there are vapor smokers, there are also conversations going on between government agencies about if, and how, to regulate these new devices.
Compiling an exhaustive list on e-cigarette regulation in every nation around the world would be much too long. So instead, we have researched how some of the major countries in other parts of the world view vapor smoking, and provided a brief description of what they are doing to regulate them.
Continue reading to learn about how the front lines of the e-cig movement are progressing in foreign countries.
The European Union currently has no direct legal ruling against the use of e-cigarettes. EU Directive 2001/95/EC(6) on general product safety does however provide restrictive measures that allow e-cigs to be banned throughout Europe if they are found to be dangerous to public health and safety in the future.
The EU’s position on e-cigarettes stands as follows: “It is for each national authority to decide, account being taken of all the characteristics of the product, whether it falls within the definition of a medicinal product by its function or presentation.”
This essentially means that the EU leaves it up to individual nations to decide upon their own regulations, which has led to varying rules across Europe.
This past May, the Health Ministry of France issued a ban on e-cigarettes that mirrors the nationwide restrictions of regular cigarettes and other tobacco products in public places. This came as a huge blow to the booming e-cig market in the country. It is estimated that as many as 1 million French citizens support the 100 million euro (130 million U.S. dollars) industry thus far.
When asked in a press conference before instituting the ban why France was choosing to be the first major European country to prohibit e-cig use in public, Health Minister Marisol Touraine replied, “This is no ordinary product because it encourages mimicking and could promote taking up smoking.”
As usual, Great Britain and the rest of the United Kingdom are ahead of American policymakers when it comes to the federal regulation of e-cigarettes. In a press release on June 12, 2013, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)—the agency responsible for protecting U.K. citizens from unsafe medicines and medical devices—announced that all nicotine-containing products (NCP), including e-cigs, are to be regulated by the government.
This new classification puts e-cigarettes on the same legal level as nicotine gums, patches, and mouthsprays designed to help wean smokers off cigarettes, meaning that licensed e-cigarette manufacturers in the U.K. can market their product as smoking cessation devices.
Immediately following the announcement, Jeremy Mean, the MHRA’s Group Manager of Vigilance and Risk Management of Medicines, released a statement, saying: “The decision announced today provides a framework that will enable good quality products to be widely available. It’s not about banning products that some people find useful, it’s about making sure that smokers have an effective alternative that they can rely on to meet their needs.”
U.K. vapor smokers are free to use their e-cigarettes wherever smoking is allowed, and there still appears to be no indication that the U.K. will go down the same path as France in banning e-cigs from public places. As British chief medical officer, Dame Sally, says: “Smokers are harmed by the deadly tar and toxins in tobacco smoke, not the nicotine.”
Other Types of Regulation in the EU:
• Austria – regulates e-cigs as medicinal devices
• Czech Republic – the use, sale, and advertising of e-cigs is legal
• Denmark – regulates e-cigs as medicinal devices
• Finland – the sale of nicotine cartridges is prohibited, but cartridges containing less than 10mg of nicotine may be brought in for private use
• Germany – the sale and use of e-cigs is legal
• Ireland – the sale and use of e-cigs is legal
• Italy – e-cigs cannot be sold to individuals under the age of 16
• Netherlands – the sale and use of e-cigs is allowed; however, advertising is banned pending EU legislation
• Poland – the sale and use of e-cigs is legal
• Portugal – the sale and use of e-cigs is legal
America’s northern neighbor has posed a strict ban on e-cigarettes coming into Canadian borders. Although vaping is not illegal there, Canadian officials reserve the right to confiscate any and all nicotine-containing devices being imported into the country.
So to be clear, the personal consumption of e-cigs is allowed in Canada, as well as the sales and advertisement of these devices. However, e-cigs cannot be imported. Basically, if you want e-cigs in Canada, you must purchase them from an authorized Canadian dealer.
Australia and New Zealand
The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration has not yet approved of e-cigarettes, so all devices containing nicotine are completely banned in Australia. Another reason for the ban is due to a series of complex social issues and a lack of knowledge in the country in regards to vaping, which has resulted in vapor smokers receiving mixed reactions when lighting up in public places.
However, just a short boat ride over the Tasman Sea in New Zealand e-cigarettes are regulated much like they are in the U.K.—as medicinal products.
In Brazil, e-cigarettes are considered “tobacco imitation,” and the use, purchase, selling, and advertising of e-cigs is strictly prohibited. This ban is based on the country’s health agency, Anvisa, which found e-cigs “lacking enough information” to allow them for public use.
Staying Informed About E-cig Regulation
The battle over e-cigarette regulation is being waged all around the world. And while it remains to be seen how these restrictions will play out in other countries, we continue to advocate for vapor smokers here at home.
If you’re traveling anywhere in the world, be sure you understand the regulations for the country or countries you’ll be visiting. And if you’re traveling, be sure and review our piece Electronic Cigarettes and Traveling for a list of items to be sure you take with you. E-cigs provide an easy way to obtain the nicotine your body craves without smelly smoke and harmful substances, so embark on a new voyage today…”