Category Archives: Europe

France cracks down on e-cigarettes, tobacco packaging

France, which all but epitomizes European cool when it comes to cigarettes, is proposing to impose strict new rulesE-cigarettes regulation on the public use of e-cigarettes.

A bill has been introduced that would ban the use of e-cigs in public places.

I loved this response from a French spokesman for tobacco products:

The president of the French Tobacconists’ Confederation, Pascal Montredon, told the Guardian that Touraine was being unrealistic by modelling her reforms on “Anglo-saxon” countries such as Australia and Britain where the cigarette distribution network is completely different from France.

“Tobacconists are fed up with being stigmatised at a time when instead the government should be doing something about the unemployment rate,” he said. The confederation is pressing for e-cigarettes to be sold solely in tobacconist stores, but the proposed legislation fails to address this, he said.

Modeling reforms on “Anglo-Saxon” countries like Britain and Australia. Too funny. (Apparently, Australia has banned e-cig use in public according to this story).

Don’t have a strong opinion one way or another on this, other than I think it highlights that people really don’t trust e-cigs and don’t trust that the steam coming out of them is  completely benign. A few cities in the U.S. have banned e-cigs in public places, I don’t believe any states have, though I’m sure bills have been introduced.

This will be interesting to watch, because much of western Europe has imposed the same kind of strict anti-smoking measures seen in the U.S. (I have no idea how strictly they are enforced), which is a boon for the e-cig industry. Because people can’t smoke in bars anymore, now they can vape instead … except a lot of people aren’t comfortable with that nicotine-laced steam and don’t want to be around it.


In addition, France is also set to require plain packaging on cigarettes, much as Australia has done. Again, French tobacco spokespeople are not happy:

Celine Audibert, spokeswoman for French firm Seita, which is a subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco, slammed the move as “completely incomprehensible”.

“It’s based on the Australian experience which, more than a failure, was a complete fiasco,” added Audibert.

In 2012, Australia forced all cigarettes to be sold in identical, olive-brown packets bearing the same typeface and largely covered with graphic health warnings.

Oh, boo hoo Celine. How was it a “fiasco?” Because Imperial Tobacco’s profits declined? No matter the culture or location, tobacco weasels all speak the same language.

BTW, graphic warnings on cigarette packages was derailed on First Amendment grounds, but I found a really fascinating story about this that I will post later.

Europe to regulate e-cigarettes; FDA next?


This came from an editorial from the New York Times supporting ecig regulation.

The European Parliament last week (honestly didn’t realize there was such a thing, but it’s the governing body of the European Union, apparently)  voted to regulated e-cigarettes, perhaps laying the groundwork for the FDA in the U.S. to someday regulate these things (yes, they appear to be wholly unregulated at this point).

In Europe, the advertising of ecigs will now be banned, and the amount of nicotine limited in the cartridges. I think I’ve mentioned repeatedly one of my concerns about ecigs is the way they are being marketed — sexy, suave, alluring — just the way cigarettes have been advertised (to teens) for many, many years.

Part of the big debate about ecigs was whether to classify them as a medicine or a tobacco product. Are they a medicine because they help some people quit like nicotine gum or patches, or a tobacco product, because they’re simply a nicotine delivery system that some people use when they’re in places they’re not allowed to smoke. It’s a good question. In the end, the European Parliament made some compromises, but ultimate will regulate ecigs as a tobacco product.

Some members of Parliament expect ecig companies to sue over the regulations.

“This was a very bad agreement,” said Martin Callanan, a British Conservative Party politician who said he opposed e-cigarette regulation on the ground that the products help people stop smoking. “It’s a massive loss for public health in Europe.”

Mr. Callanan, who backed most of Wednesday’s tobacco law reforms, said the details on e-cigarettes were “still very murky” and added, “I’m sure a lot of this will end up in the courts.”

I agree that advertising of ecigs needs to be reeled in. The use of ecigs is growing among teens because a) it’s cheaper than cigarettes, and I’m afraid b) those ecig ads are making it look cool, just like cigarettes.

The problem with this, is that while ecigs are not as toxic as cigarettes, they still contain nicotine, and are just as addictive as cigarettes. Ecigs might be effective for some people to quit smoking (maybe, the jury is out on this, I’ve heard and read anecdotes to support both sides), but they are not a good idea as a “substitute” for cigarettes, especially for kids. They are still getting addicted to nicotine and still inhaling toxic substances.