French Court Rules E-Cigarettes are a Tobacco Product, Even Though They Contain No Tobacco

le sighThe war on e-cigarettes continues across the
world. A licensed tobacconist in Plaisance-du-Touch, France filed a
complaint against an e-cigarette retailer that set up shop nearby,
complaining that the e-cigarette retailer was violating French
public health codes, including by advertising e-cigarettes. In
France only licensed tobacconists can sell tobacco products, under
a state-imposed monopoly, and they cannot advertise them.
E-cigarettes contain nicotine, but no tobacco. Neverthless, a
French court agreed with the tobacconist, ruling that because
e-cigarettes were an alternative to a tobacco product, they too
constituted a tobacco product and the e-cigarette retailer
presented “unfair competition” to registered tobacconists. The
e-cigarette retailer will appeal the ruling, but France 24
the decision may already have wide ranging effects
across the country:

“This sets a precedent that says that the sale of all
products for smoking is restricted to licensed tobacconists,” said
Bertrand Desarnauts, the lawyer for the tobacconist who filed the

“This ruling implies that other sellers of electronic cigarettes
will no longer be able to sell them in stores or on the

According to figures from the French Office for Smoking Prevention,
there were 141 e-cigarette shops in France as of April 2013, but
experts estimate this number could rise to 300 by the end of the

Commenting on Monday’s ruling, France’s Electronic Cigarette
Stakeholders Group (CACE) said the court’s decision could put 2,500
jobs at risk if it resulted in e-cigarette shops going out of

It claimed that e-cigarettes are “a consumer product and not a
tobacco product” and accused the court in Toulouse of having
“exceeded its powers”.

There are 1.5 million users of e-cigarettes in France according
to the government, which is considering imposing the same bans on
the use of e-cigarettes as it does on actual cigarettes as well as
a ban on the sale of them to minors.

Reason TV sat down to discuss the growth of the e-cigarette
industry and the push for more regulations with the CEO of
e-cigarette maker NJOY, which you can watch below:


More Reason on e-cigarettes here

from Hit & Run

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