{ subscribe_url: '/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/law.php' }

Regulation of Electronic Cigarettes in Germany

The emergence of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) is a recent phenomenon. E-cigarettes are battery-operated products that typically resemble conventional cigarettes. Instead of tobacco, they contain cartridges filled with liquids that are generally composed of nicotine, flavor, and other chemicals. During consumption, the liquids are heated and thereby vaporize.

Photo from DrugFacts: Electronic Cigarettes (e-Cigarettes) | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e-cigarettes).

Photo from DrugFacts: Electronic Cigarettes (e-Cigarettes) | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e-cigarettes).

Because e-cigarettes are relatively new and potential risks are still unknown, legal regulation around the globe varies widely. For example, starting in 2016, the UK will regulate e-cigarettes as medicinal products; whereas France plans to make them subject to the same restrictions as tobacco products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also proposed a new rule to extend its tobacco authority to include e-cigarettes.

A recent report that I worked on, which has now been published on the Law Library of Congress website, looks at the situation in Germany.

The report focuses on the legal age for the use of e-cigarettes, their legal classification, and future developments. It explains that e-cigarettes in Germany are currently not subjected to any age-related access restrictions. Furthermore, it examines the recent ruling of the German Federal Administrative Court which decided that nicotine-containing liquids in electronic cigarettes are not medicinal products and therefore can be sold without approval in accordance with the Medicinal Products Act.

In addition, the report discusses whether such liquids are covered by tobacco regulations and antismoking laws and points out the differing approaches of German states and cities. It concludes with a section on European Union regulation and a description of the initiative from the German Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizen, Youth, and Women and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to expand age-related access restrictions to e-cigarettes.

Update: This was originally published as a guest post by Jenny Gesley. The author information has been updated to reflect that Jenny is now an In Custodia Legis blogger.


Under the Global Law category of this blog you can find posts about other foreign law reports that are published on our website. These reports cover a wide range of topics, such as laws in different countries on foreign intelligence gathering laws, homosexuality laws in Africa, historical inheritance laws, and abortion legislation in Europe. To receive Global Law blog post alerts you can subscribe to email updates or the RSS feed. There is also an email and RSS feed for our Law Library Reports (click the “subscribe” button on the Law Library’s website.

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.