Electronic Cigarettes - The Law

The UK Law on Electronic Cigarettes

Electronic Cigarettes The Law

The Legal Classification of Electronic Cigarettes in the UK

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Restrictions on Marketing and Sale of Electronic Cigarettes.

In the United Kingdom the sale and use of electronic cigarettes is legal and not restricted by UK law. No legal classification of electronic cigarettes has been made to date.  Electronic cigarettes cannot be marketed as smoking cessation devices, as they would then fall into the category of a medical device or medicine. Medicines and medical devices are regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Electronic cigarette companies wishing to market in this way therefore must ad dear to the MHRA. No electronic cigarette companies have currently been approved by them.

Electronic cigarettes not marketed as a smoking cessation device are only governed by trading standards bodies. All electronic cigarettes marketed as tobacco alternatives must should come with appropriate toxic label warnings under the Chemical (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 2002. As electronic cigarettes contain nicotine, a habit forming and addictive drug, it is also of major public concern that children will start using nicotine products. Electronic cigarettes should not be sold to anyone under the age of 18 and should not be marketed in a way that would be appealing to children.

Possible Classification of Electronic Cigarettes and Rumours

There have been rumours that the UK Tobacco Acts may be amended in the near future within the UK to incorporate electronic cigarettes.  Debates have been in process since 2009 with no formal decision on the law being achieved to date.

Restrictions on Use of Electronic Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes are exempt from the UK Health Act 2006 as they do not contain tobacco or produce smoke and offer no risk of second hand smoke. Electronic cigarettes are not restricted under the UK smoking ban and there use is not currently restricted within the UK.  You are therefore not breaking the law if you use these in public spaces. Which Electronic Cigarette however ask that people are courteous to the rules of local venues.

The Legal Classification of Electronic Cigarettes in the EU

If electronic cigarettes are marketed as smoking cessation devices they also come under and restricted to the EU Directive 93/42/EEC on medical devices.

The EU Directive 2001/95/EC(6) on general product safety still applies however no legislation exists to date that explicitly mentions electronic cigarettes. This EU directive requires a restrictive or preventive measures to be taken if the product is found to be dangerous to the health and safety of consumers.

The EU to date take a vague stance on electronic cigarettes this has led to many member countries classifying electronic cigarettes under varying laws. Each member country has there own laws in place some of which restrict the use and sale of electronic cigarettes. Therefore if you are travelling abroad and wish to use your electronic cigarette then it is advised that you research the law and any legal classification of electronic cigarettes in the visiting country, before you travel.