France is set to ban electronic cigarettes from public places and generally subject them to the same controls as tobacco cigarettes, according to a story in World Observer.
Health Minister Marisol Touraine was quoted as saying the electronic cigarette was not an ordinary product. However, she said also: “We need to apply the same measures as there are for tobacco”.
‘That means making sure it cannot be smoked in public places, that its sale is restricted to over 18s and that firms are not allowed to advertise the products.”
At present, electronic cigarettes may be used in France in bars, restaurants and other public places, from where traditional smoking has been banned for five years.
About 500,000 French people are thought to use electronic cigarettes.
A spokesman from the London-based market intelligence company Euromonitor International was quoted as saying that the electronic cigarette market was developing very rapidly in France.
“The two main advantages of e-cigarettes is that they’re seen as healthier than traditional cigarettes, and you can use them in settings like bars and restaurants, where traditional cigarettes aren’t allowed,” the spokesman said.
“A measure like a public ban would reduce the public perception of harmlessness and remove the practical benefit of smoking an e-cigarette in the first place. So it would be highly damaging to the industry.”