Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Israeli strikes on Gaza as seen on social media

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Israel and the Palestinians: How to Break the Cycle of Violence?

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Somalia : Al Shebab attack on presidential palace

Read more

FOCUS

Sharia law to be enshrined in British legal system?

Read more

ENCORE!

How a comedy dud became one of France's biggest box office hits

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya: Clashes at anti-government rally in Nairobi

Read more

WEB NEWS

ISIS leader challenged over expensive-looking wristwatch

Read more

  • Israeli airstrikes continue in Gaza as rockets intercepted over Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

  • Froome crashes out of Tour de France

    Read more

  • South Sudan independence heroes ‘have lost their way’

    Read more

  • Dozens of blindfolded bodies found south of Baghdad

    Read more

  • Alps Murder wife had ex-husband who died on same day

    Read more

  • Both candidates say they won Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Brazil players should never wear 'sacred uniform' again, press says

    Read more

  • Exiled Syrian opposition elects new president

    Read more

  • China’s first Tour de France cyclist chases his dream

    Read more

  • Ukraine imposes new conditions on peace talks with pro-Russia rebels

    Read more

  • Sarkozy's UMP party 'almost €80 million in debt'

    Read more

France

E-cigarettes are tobacco products, rules French court

© Photo: AFP

Text by Sam BALL

Latest update : 2013-12-10

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.

2,500 jobs at risk

The court’s decision could set a precedent that affects e-cigarette vendors 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 complaint.

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

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 year.

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 business.

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”.

Electronic cigarettes – battery-powered tubes that release vapour of different flavours either with or without nicotine – have seen a surge in popularity in France of late.

1.5 million ‘vapers’

There are an estimated 1.5 million “vapers” in France, as users of e-cigarettes are known, a number thought to be rising.

However, there has been significant debate in the country over how e-cigarettes should be treated under French law.

A report by a panel of experts earlier this year recommended that e-cigarettes should be banned in all places where traditional cigarettes are prohibited, such as in the work place and enclosed public areas.

The experts also recommended a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, as is the case for all tobacco products, something the French health minister has also backed.

While manufacturers and vendors promote the devices as a healthier alternative to smoking tobacco, little is known about the long-term health risks of using e-cigarettes and the panel called for more comprehensive studies to be carried out on the possible risks.

Nevertheless, in October this year, a group of French doctors signed a letter voicing their support for e-cigarettes, which they said “have helped a huge number of people stop smoking tobacco”.

Date created : 2013-12-10

  • HEALTH

    European Parliament rejects curb on e-cigarettes

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    E-cigarettes may be carcinogenic, report claims

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French minister wants tobacco-free parks, beaches

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)