E-cigarettes are devices that use cartridges containing flavorings and nicotine in liquid form to simulate smoking. They are also called electronic nicotine delivery systems or e-cigarettes and were launched in the market in 2004 by Chinese entrepreneurs. Since then, knowledge and awareness about their usage has grown in leaps and bounds, and today they represent a multi-billion dollar industry.
Many countries around the world are still undecided about what to do with e-cigarettes. A good number of them are satisfied with formulating regulations to control their sale and usage, and they normally exaggerate the risks of using the e-liquid (commonly referred to as vaping). Other countries, however, have taken matters further and completely banned the use and sale of all e-cigarettes, even those which do not contain nicotine. So, which countries have banned electronic cigarettes?
Here is a list of those countries and a brief summary of the reasoning behind the ban.
The sale and importation e-cigarettes was banned in Argentina in 2011.The justification for the ban was that there was insufficient evidence to prove that e-cigarettes are safe for human use.The Argentinean authorities also cited recommendations by the World Health Organization which stated that there is no evidence that e-cigarettes are harmless or that they can help smokers to stop smoking. Ironically, cigarettes are legal in Argentina.
Brazil banned the selling and manufacturing of e-cigarettes in 2009.The authorities based this ban on an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) study and the presence of carcinogens in e-cigarettes. Each e-cigarette product that is confiscated attracts a fine of 10 reals (about $2.60).
Brunei authorities, in 2010, banned all sales of e-cigarettes-terming them as imitation tobacco products. According to Brunei law, smoking e-cigarettes in no-smoking zones attracts a fine of $300 for first-time offenders and $500 for each repeat offense. If you are caught importing or selling e-cigarettes for the first time you will be fined $5,000.Subsequent offenses will each attract a fine approaching $10,000.The ban was imposed due to the fact that e-cigarettes contain carcinogens and nicotine.Paradoxically, cigarettes are legal in the country.
E-cigarettes were banned in Cambodia in 2014.This was based on a test which apparently proved they were more harmful than cigarettes. The cautious standpoint about e-cigarettes adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) also influenced the decision.
Jordan banned the selling and importation of all e-cigarettes in 2009.The authorities claimed that e-cigarettes contained more nicotine than normal cigarettes. They also based the ban on WHO’s stated viewpoint that there is no proof that e-cigarettes were an effective and safe substitute for cigarettes.
Omani authorities banned all sales of e-cigarettes in the year 2012, again stating that they are unsafe and ineffective. They also used a study done by The Center for Environmental Health which found that many e-cigarettes contained formaldehyde.
Qatar has also banned sales and imports of all e-cigarettes. They based their decision on a faulty assertion that WHO has found e-cigarettes more harmful than ordinary cigarettes
In 2010 Singapore prohibited all importation, distribution and sales of e-cigarettes. The specific law outlawed all products which resembled tobacco products and imposed a fine of about $5,000 for those who broke this law. From December 2015, tobacco products such as e-liquid were banned because they were potentially harmful to human health.
Taiwan, in 2009, classified e-cigarettes as a regulated drug-based on a WHO report. This meant that anyone importing, selling or manufacturing e-cigarettes needed official approval or they would pay hefty fines face a prison sentence.No person has gotten,or is likely to get, the required official approval. This law covers all items with a cigarette shape, meaning that even nicotine-free e-cigarettes are also prohibited.
The sale and imports of e-cigarettes was officially banned in Thailand in 2014.However, due to the importance attached to tourism, enforcement of this law is often not strict. In addition, possessing e-cigarettes is not illegal in the country.
United Arab Emirates
Importation and sale of e-cigarettes was banned in the U.A.E (which includes Dubai) from 2009.The justification was that using e-cigarettes undermined anti-smoking campaigns and that they were unhealthy and addictive.
The sale of e-cigarettes is completely illegal in Uruguay. The authorities say there is no evidence that they are effective. They also cite an FDA report that says e-cigarettes contain ethylene glycol and nicotine.
Venezuelan law bans the distribution and selling of e-cigarettes due to their unproven safety and effectiveness, and there are fines of around $8,400 for offenders.
In conclusion, it patently clear that in most of these countries, the reasoning behind banning e-cigarettes is based on total misinformation, let’s hope the FDA regulations are more sensible! Also, some countries have gone ahead to implement e-cigarette bans while also adopting a wait-and-see attitude regarding their use. The sad irony is that the sale and usage of the more dangerous ordinary cigarettes is legal in all these countries.