E-cigarettes fall under tobacco laws, says French court
A court in France ruled on Monday that electronic cigarettes qualify as tobacco products and as such can only be sold by licensed tobacconists under French law, threatening to put specialist e-cigarette sellers across the country out of business.
Electronic cigarettes qualify as tobacco products and can only be sold by licensed tobacconists, a French court said in a landmark ruling on Monday that could force hundreds of specialist e-cigarette shops across the country to close down.
The controversial decision was made by a court in Toulouse, in southwestern France, following a complaint by a tobacconist in the nearby town of Plaisance-du-Touch against e-cigarette seller Esmokeclean after it set up shop close by.
The tobacconist claimed that Esmokeclean violated France’s public health code through advertisements at its shop, its on-line store and on its Facebook page.
Tobacco products such as cigarettes can only be sold in France at registered outlets under a state-imposed monopoly, and their advertising is banned. E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco. They heat up liquid nicotine, creating vapour that can be inhaled.
The court decided that, in acting as a substitute for cigarettes, e-cigarettes constituted tobacco products and therefore Esmokeclean was violating these laws.
It ordered the company to stop selling and advertising e-cigarettes, saying that doing so constituted “unfair competition” to registered tobacconists.
A lawyer for Esmokeclean said the company would appeal the ruling.