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JAPAN - Partial permission: two-tier system.
E-cigarettes with nicotine are banned because they are classed as unlicensed medical products.
JORDAN - Banned.
Import and sale of electronic cigarettes, including nicotine-free products, is banned.
KOREA, REPUBLIC OF - Permitted.
Considered a tobacco product here, and subject to tobacco control legislation.
Taxes are high. Reports indicate that Korea has the highest retail prices in the world.
LATVIA - Permitted.
E-cigarettes may be sold to individuals over 18 years old.
A total ban is under discussion at January 2014:
MALAYSIA - Banned.
Electronic cigarettes are considered medical devices and nicotine cartridges as medicinal products. They will be available for purchase over the counter at a pharmacy at a later date, if pharmaceutical licenses can be obtained.
MALTA - Permitted.
Considered a tobacco product.
Sale and use is permitted, but e-cigarettes fall under the Tobacco Act. They cannot be advertised, they cannot be used in enclosed public spaces, and they can only be used by adults over the age of 18.
MAURITIUS - Unclear.
Possibly banned by the Public Health Act:
4. "No person shall sell, offer to sell or distribute – ... (f) sweets, snacks, toys or any other object in the form of, or which are likely to create an association with, cigarettes or cigars. "
MEXICO - Banned.
Sale, production, distribution, importation or advertisement of any kind are forbidden because the design is too similar to a tobacco product.
NETHERLANDS - Permitted.
Import, sale and use are permitted.
The government attempted a blanket ban, but it was overturned at law: the 's-Gravenhage court in Holland legalised the import and sale of electronic cigarettes and nicotine-containing e-liquids, in a civil court case 414117/KGAZ 12-209. Judgement is as follows:
1. The court allows e-cigarettes to be imported from outside the EU to be sold in The Netherlands and prohibits the Dutch Government from actions against the import and sales. (The government had imposed a ban on import and sale, based on pharmaceutical classification.)
2. The court ruled that electronic cigarettes are not to be considered pharmaceutical products. (13 March 2012)
NEW ZEALAND - Partial permission: two-tier system.
E-cigarettes and nicotine-free cartridges may be sold, but nicotine-containing refills are prohibited (all zero-nicotine products are permitted).
Non-nicotine starter kits can be sold and advertised along with nicotine-free cartridges. Nicotine-containing cartridges and liquid are classed as medicines and banned until such time as the manufacturer or distributor of the product submits an application; the product is an unapproved medicine and its distribution would be an offence under Section 20 of the Medicines Act. The delivery device, without the nicotine cartridge, may be sold on its own as long as no therapeutic claims are made.
A counter argument is being made that sales can be allowed as a non-medicinal, recreational tobacco product under the Smoke-free Environments Act.
NORWAY - Partial permission: two-tier system.
E-cigarettes and nicotine-free cartridges may be sold, but nicotine-containing refills are prohibited. All marketing is prohibited. Sale to under-18s is prohibited.
There are no restrictions on sale of nicotine-free e-cigarettes or e-liquid, but marketing them is prohibited. The sale of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes or e-liquid is prohibited, but personal import is allowed (reportedly through drug legislation). There are different rules for importing from different countries. Personal imports via web sales are reportedly only allowed from EU countries.
The Norwegian Tobacco Act forbids the import and sale of new tobacco products and/or nicotine products, a classification that is applied to nicotine-containing ecig products. In practice, this means hardware and nic-free refills are permitted, but nic refills are prohibited.
OMAN - Banned.
Sale of e-cigarettes is not allowed.
http://main.omanobserver.om/node/87399 (March 2012)
http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/201... (March 2012)
PANAMA - Banned.
Import, distribution and sale is prohibited.
POLAND - Permitted.
Import, sale and use is permitted.
The Ministry of Health is reported as considering a prohibition of the sale of e-cigarettes in the near future. (2012)
QATAR - Banned.
Reports say a total ban is in place.
RUSSIA - Permitted.
Import, sale and use is permitted.
Due to the size of the country and its separate regions, it may be expected that there is some variation in local application of laws.
Update October 2013
Some anti-tobacco legislation took effect this summer and there is one clause that may apply to e-cigarettes, though it appears to be framed in such a way that it can be evaded. In any case, we are told there is no enforcement of this law. Here is a quote in Russian from paragraph 16g of the new law, and we are told that this is the only paragraph in the law that may refer to ecigs:
ЗАПРЕЩЕНО «…использование и имитация табачного изделия при производстве других видов товаров, не являющихся табачными изделиями, при оптовой и розничной торговле такими товарами».
Forbids "usage and imitation of tobacco product by production of other types of merchandise that are not tobacco products, during wholesale and retail sales of such merchandise."
Most people interpret this paragraph as prohibiting e-cigarettes that imitate tobacco cigarettes (i.e. mini e-cigarettes) but is not applicable to any other vaping device or refill. As stated, there is no enforcement of any kind reported so far. All retailers are reported as continuing with business as usual.
SINGAPORE - Banned.
Import, distribution and sale is prohibited.
Section 16 (1) of the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, enforced by the Health Sciences Authority (has) prohibits the importation, distribution, sale or offer for sale of any confectionery or other food product or any toy or other article designed to resemble a tobacco product or packaging which is designed to resemble the packaging commonly associated with tobacco products. Fine is of up to $5, 000 upon conviction.
SOUTH AFRICA - Partial permission: two-tier system.
E-cigarettes and nicotine-free cartridges may be sold, but nicotine-containing refills are prohibited.
However, it appears that little or no enforcement action is taking place, therefore in practice all products are sold. It is believed that a ban may be in force on imports, and therefore import of e-liquid may be problematic for vendors.
From the above:
A change to the schedules published in terms of the Medicines and Related Substances Act last year (2012) classified nicotine when used as "a substitute for a tobacco product" as a schedule three substance. Schedule three substances require a prescription and should only be sold at pharmacies.
"The intent of the schedule three inscription was to clearly capture unregistered delivery devices containing nicotine, including electronic cigarettes," said Andy Gray of the University of KwaZulu-Natal's pharmacy department. "They cannot be considered to fall under the Tobacco Products Control Act because they do not contain tobacco."
SWEDEN - Partial permission: two-tier system.
E-cigarettes and nicotine-free cartridges may be sold, but nicotine-containing refills are prohibited.
Update March 2015
A legal challenge to this situation failed in court on March 5th - see:
This ruling is opposite to the existing 7 rulings in the EU in which government attempts to protect cigarette tax revenues and pharmaceutical industry income by banning vaping have been overturned by the courts in their country. The difference here appears to be that the challenge was poorly-conceived, poorly-funded, and unsupported by the experts in this area who have previously won every action against overreaching governments. There is a harsh lesson here: to fight the pharmaceutical industry and its government agents, you must have expert support and good funding.
SWITZERLAND - Partial permission: two-tier system.
Zero-nicotine products are permitted.
Electronic cigarettes containing nicotine may not be marketed in Switzerland but an electronic cigarette and 40 replacement cartridges containing nicotine may be bought for personal use. Electronic cigarettes without nicotine (and no mention of therapeutic properties) can be marketed in Switzerland only if the distributor has taken the necessary measures to ensure product safety.
Also, ecigs are exempt from tax in Switzerland.
http://www.tax-news.com/news/Switzerland_Exempts_ECigarettes_From_Tax___... (March 2012)
TAIWAN - Banned.
All ecig-related products require a license. Some require a pharmaceutical license. No licenses have been issued as yet (Q1 2014).
TAJIKISTAN - Permitted.
Electronic cigarette sale and use is currently unrestricted.
THAILAND - Banned.
Reports say a total ban is in place.
TURKEY - Banned.
Sale and advertising is prohibited.
UKRAINE - Permitted, with restrictions.
Use of ecigs is not allowed in public places.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, UAE, including Dubai - Banned.
Trade and sale of e-cigarettes is prohibited.
UNITED KINGDOM – Permitted.
Import, sale, advertising and use are permitted. There are some restrictions on advertising.
The UK is, as far as we are aware, the only country in the world where e-cigarettes are comprehensively and effectively regulated at this time.
All standard consumer protections are in force; this means that 17 separate statutes (laws, regulations) apply to e-cigarettes, refills and ancillaries, and these regulations are enforced at local level by the Trading Standards Institute's inspectors. The ECITA e-cigarette trade association website has a full listing of applicable statutes - PDF, Section 3, p13. There are regulations covering but not limited to: CE marks and associated certification, labelling, packaging, contaminants, electrical safety, consumer sales protection, therapeutic claims, marketing claims.
Customs & Excise control imports, the products are GSP (General Sales Products) and unrestricted in any way. The Dept. of Business oversees consumer product sales, and has enforcement duties shared with the Trading Standards Institute, who provide the inspection, analysis and enforcement staff at local level.
No therapeutic claims are permitted since this implies a medicinal function and an MA would be required (a pharmaceutical license). Therefore, if e-cigarettes are marketed as a smoking cessation aid, they must be licensed as a medicine by the MHRA, Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, a regulatory agency within the Dept. of Health (this functionality is considered medicinal). The MHRA has served enforcement on rogue traders who marketed their products as a smoking cessation aid.
As a smoking alternative, however, e-cigarettes are a consumer product and unrestricted by medical and tobacco control legislation.
The MHRA attempted to ban e-cigarettes in 2010 but were stopped by the RPC, a higher government agency; however it is expected that they will continue to try to prevent the sale of e-cigarettes if possible (being the pharmaceutical industry's legal arm, in practice), and have stated their intention to do so, and that they will report again by Q2 2013. They have two options in order to successfully outmanoeuvre higher government instructions:
(a) to obtain a legal ruling that classes e-cigarettes (or their refills) as a pharmaceutical;
(b) to persuade government that regulation of all nicotine-containing products (except cigarettes) is required for consumer safety, typically by 'light-touch' regulations.
Option (a) is unlikely to succeed as it has routinely been rejected by courts worldwide. Option (b) may be more successful, and once the legal framework is in place, the regulations can be gradually tightened in order to remove ecigs from the market.
Update Q2 3013
The MHRA have announced they will wait for the EU to accomplish this for them in c. 2014, and they will support the EU if pharmaceutical licensing of e-cigarettes (or any component) is required by EU statute. They have also announced that no current e-cigarette will be able to acquire a license. This is not actually relevant because the EU is currently attempting to restrict the refill liquids not the hardware (as hardware restrictions are likely to fail at law).
This situation is more problematic for the UK community (and those in other countries) because a legal challenge in Strasbourg, at the EU courts, is more difficult and expensive than challenging regulations implemented unilaterally by a government agency in a single country in order to protect its client industry. However, the ECJ in Strasbourg has previously ruled against pharmaceutical industry attempts to remove consumer products from the market (in the case of garlic pills), so the outlook is favourable.
Update Q3 2013
The European e-cigarette community won a massive victory in the EU Plenary vote, with a resounding defeat of ecig medicalisation, enabled by sympathetic MEPs. At present the situation is unclear because there is intense pressure by the pharmaceutical industry's representatives to try and kill ecigs somehow; negotiations are still ongoing despite their Plenary defeat, as the industry still has the power to enforce its agenda. We await the result. If medicalisation is removed despite the EU's strong support for it, they will use tobacco product classification to achieve a similar result. (In matters important to giant industries and governments, the EU machinery works for them; therefore in this commercial area, they work for the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries, and to support government tax revenues, to the exclusion of all else; consumer rights and public health are irrelevant.) As an example, the Snus ban, kept in place to protect the pharmaceutical industry by protecting cigarette sales, kills a minimum of 70,000 EU citizens per year and - according to Prof Rodu - up to 290,000 a year, if the rest of the EU consumed Snus at an equivalent level to Sweden. The EU is utterly corrupt and kills hundreds of thousands of citizens to protect major industries and government revenues.
Update Q1 2014
Following the defeat of the TPD in Plenary, the Trilogue (a 3-way process to sideline the Parliament if EU preferred options are defeated) is creating a new TPD version that will be based on tobacco products classification but include most of the prohibitions inherent in medicalisation, so that ecigs can rendered useless via regulations (i.e. by use of a de facto ban). This new version of the TPD will need to be voted on again in the EU Parliament. The EU hope that by restating the regulations as tobacco rules, ecigs can be rendered useless, especially after the transposition process since governments will be able to interpret the rules as they wish. The UK's policy is to protect the pharmaceutical industry and tobacco tax revenues, therefore they will transpose and interpret the TPD in the most restrictive way possible (public health, consumer rights, and the right to life and health are not relevant). The Dept of Health always proritises pharma income above public health in any tobacco-related area since smokers are considered already dead, the profits from treatments are immense, and smokers have no rights - certainly not to life and health.
UNITED STATES, USA – Permitted.
Import, sale, advertising and use are permitted.
The FDA have announced their intention to regulate e-cigarettes and refills as a tobacco product. This would allow them to form a legal framework to do so, then gradually tighten the regulations in order to remove e-cigarettes from the market (as per the UK's MHRA, with whom they share a similar agenda: to act at all times to protect pharmaceutical industry income).
Electronic cigarettes are currently considered to be unregulated tobacco products and this situation is unlikely to persist: some form of regulatory structure based on tobacco regulations is likely to be imposed, if for no other reason (to be fair) than there is an argument that no universal, comprehensive and fully-local consumer product regulatory and enforcement structure exists (unlike the UK).
The FDA attempted a ban in 2010 but this was rejected by a series of appeal courts. Judge Leon rejected a pharmaceutical classification, and this was upheld on appeal; he stated that if regulation was required, then as a tobacco product would be more appropriate.
The FDA has announced that it intends to assert authority over products that meet the statutory definition of “tobacco products” under the 2009 tobacco regulation law. This would include regulating e-cigarettes as a new tobacco product. This will require the FDA to issue a 'deeming' notice, to state that they deem e-cigarettes to be tobacco products and that they will proceed with regulation.
http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucm252360.htm (April 2011)
Individual States have the power to introduce their own regulations, as do Cities. Some examples are listed below.
US States: general
Several States have imposed indoor use restrictions by including e-cigarettes in public indoor smoking bans. These States are not named below, but include for example Utah, N Dakota. A specific regulation is needed as it is unlikely that a court (especially on appeal) would uphold a case brought against an ecig owner accused of 'smoking' indoors in a public place (vaping is not smoking).
One State has confirmed that e-cigarettes cannot legally be included in any smoking definition and will not be restricted indoors (Virginia).
At Q3 2013 no State has implemented a sales ban.
Arizona - Sale of any products containing nicotine to minors & displaying the product near candy is banned.
California - Sottera (NJOY) agreed an out of court settlement on a case brought by the Attorney General, this may set a precedent on acceptable conditions of sale. http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/08/03/Sottera.pdf (2010)
Kansas - The Attorney General has decided that ecigs do not produce smoke and are not covered by the Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act. Sales of e-cigarettes to minors have been banned. http://www.vapersnetwork.org/documents/07410d01.pdf (2011) http://kslegislature.org/li/b2011_12/measures/documents/hb2324_enrolled.pdf (2012)
Minnesota - Sale of any products containing nicotine to minors & displaying the product near candy is banned.
New Hampshire - Sale of any products containing nicotine to minors & displaying the product near candy is banned.
New Jersey - There is a ban on selling to people under 19 years of age and e-cigarettes are included in the New Jersey Smoke Free Air Act which prohibits smoking in indoor public places and workplaces.http://www.politickernj.com/thester/35976/wagner-voss-legislation-combat... (2010)
Oregon - Sales to minors are banned.
Also, electronic cigarettes may not be sold in Oregon unless there is competent and reliable scientific evidence to support the product’s safety claims. In addition, the companies must give the Attorney General advance notice that they intend to sell electronic cigarettes in Oregon, provide copies of all electronic cigarette advertising, and provide copies of the scientific studies they maintain substantiates their claims. The ecig company Smoking Everywhere has been banned from trading in Oregon because of violations of the Unlawful Trade Practices Act. http://www.csdecisions.com/2010/08/12/e-cigarettes-versus-oregon/ (2010)
Utah - has banned ecigs for young people, prisoners and people in facilities for 'help' with mental health problems. Use of ecigs in indoor public places is also banned.http://le.utah.gov/~2010/bills/hbillamd/hb0088.htm (2010) http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/53674989-90/hookahs-ban-cigarettes... (2012)
Virginia - ecigs are officially not covered by smoking ban legislation, and cannot be considered as smoking devices, according to the State AG.
Washington - The King County Board of Health has banned use of electronic cigarettes in public places. Stores are also banned from selling to minors. http://www.nwcn.com/news/washington/King-County-bans-electronic-cigarett...
USDoT - The U.S. Department of Transportation interprets existing federal regulations against smoking on airplanes to apply to e-cigarettes (which is not legal although it has not been challenged). It is reported that no specific air travel regulations exist, since e-cigarettes are clearly not covered by any smoking laws (there is no tobacco, no ignition, no combustion and no smoke); and their attempt to formally include e-cigarettes in smoking regulations was quietly dropped when they were informed that any regulatory approach would be strongly resisted by CASAA and others. Currently, therefore, the DoT opinion appears incorrect and cannot be enforced, and in practice any enforcement of the DoT opinion would probably fail at law. So far this has not been tested.
USAF - The U.S. Air Force stated that e-cigarette use would be governed by the same regulations that limit the use of tobacco products in the Air Force, including prohibitions on their use in workplaces and public spaces that are not designated smoking areas.
VENEZUELA - Banned.
The Government of Venezuela has threatened fines of up to $8,400 for those who distribute or promote electronic cigarettes which are banned in the country for not having permits or corresponding health records.
Any transport contractor can establish their own regulations applicable to their own vehicles or planes. Some airlines prohibit e-cigarette use, some permit it and sell their own products in-flight.
The US DoT attempted to start a prohibition process applicable to all US airlines, but quietly dropped this when it was pointed out that there would be significant legal obstacles (since vaping is not smoking and cannot be classed as such even by clever 'bending' of the law). Therefore the situation on US airlines is unclear at this time.
Government agencies (anywhere) never, ever, announce that an initiative has failed, except when forced to by a court order or similar. The DoT failed but cannot announce this - the issue has been allowed to recede into the background.
Any local authority, including a state, city, town or county, probably has the statutory right to permit or prohibit specified activities within their area. In most cases this would require a vote by the managing committee.
Although smoking regulations cannot be applied to e-cigarette use (as they are outside any legal definition of smoking), a local authority can bypass this with what are in effect Byelaws, which need no national or Federal basis in law for validity.
Therefore a local authority (and this probably applies worldwide) can prohibit any activity within its public buildings; within property that it owns, including residential property; and outside within public spaces owned or managed by the authority. Such activities might include use of e-cigarettes. In addition a local authority usually has the power to prohibit the sale of a specific class of goods within its area.
A property owner normally has the legal right to prohibit any specific activity on their property, indoors or out; or to permit any activity not otherwise covered by law.
As a result, some restaurant and bar owners specifically permit e-cigarette use; some specifically prohibit use.
The same usually applies to employers. Some permit or encourage e-cigarette use; some prohibit use.
created on 2013-06-05
last update 2014-09-09