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E-cigarette legislations in France and the EU

29 Jul 2013

Electronic CigaretteMedical experts in France are lobbying for a nationwide ban on electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) in all locations where smoking is prohibited: public areas, bars, restaurants and places of business.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that provide a nicotine vapor when inhaled. The device provides a nicotine fix without exposing the user or others to toxins, tar and carbon monoxide that tobacco does (however, research is still in its early stages).

Government efforts to curb smoking in France, from the 1991 law that required bars and restaurants provide special smoke-free areas to the 2007 total ban of smoking in the workplace, has not succeeded in making the nation cut down. Between 2000 and 2005, the number of smokers fell from 34% to 31% but rose again to 33% in 2010.

The French government is considering enforcing the same advertising rules for e-cigarettes as tobacco. Furthermore, medical experts want strong warning statements against the use of e-cigarettes by pregnant/breastfeeding women, the restriction of sales at approved places only, and the ban of sales to under-18’s as it could be a potential gateway to starting to smoke tobacco.

Countries including Turkey, Brazil, Argentina and Singapore have already outlawed e-cigarettes and the UK is pushing for an EU-wide legislation that classifies e-cigarettes as medicines, putting the device in the same legal field as gums, patches and mouth sprays to help smokers quit.

The e-cigarette market is reportedly worth €100m (USD$128m) in France, and is estimated to reach €290m (USD$380m) in the UK by next year. If legislation on the use of e-cigarettes in public areas and its classification as a medicine are implemented, the market will no likely decline which will provoke outrage from the industry.

Please read the full articles of e-cigarette legislations in France & the EU.