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The electronic cigarette (or e-cigarette) refers to an electrical device intended to vaporize, i. e. to inhale steam obtained by heating a liquid solution present in the bottle. This steam is flavoured and may or may not contain nicotine.

What are the refills for electronic cigarettes made of?

Refills are in the form of vials of “e-liquids” composed of propylene glycol or glycerol, various flavours and possibly nicotine. There are now more than 7,700 different flavours.

What is the difference in nicotine levels between e-cigarette and cigarette?

The nicotine levels of e-liquids for electronic cigarettes are indicated in mg/ml. The nicotine level indicated on cigarette packages is the amount in mg per cigarette.

How many people use the electronic cigarette in France?

According to data from the Inpes Health Barometer conducted in 2014, 6% of the population aged 15-75 use the e-cigarette, i.e. around 3 million people. They are 57.3% to use it daily, 30% on a weekly basis and 12.7% less often. Of the general population, daily users of electronic cigarettes represent 2.9%, or between 1.2 and 1.5 million individuals (it is important to note that the 2014 Health Barometer only records these prevalences for electronic cigarette users at least one month before the survey).

Among these users, the majority also consume tobacco: 75% of electronic cigarette users are regular smokers and 8.4% of occasional smokers. Of the total population aged 15 to 75, only 0.9%, or about 400,000 people, are former smokers who exclusively use electronic cigarettes.

Do young people vaporize?

The last part of the OFDT’s ESCAPAD survey shows that 50% of 17-year-olds have already experimented with electronic cigarettes; 15% indicated that they had done so more than 10 times. Daily use, on the other hand, concerns 2.5% of 17-year-olds. Daily users of electronic cigarettes are 31% to report smoking more than 10 cigarettes per day together. For the other categories of electronic cigarette users, joint use of tobacco now represents only 23%.

According to the HBSC 2014 survey conducted in middle school classes, it appears that 40% of 4th and 3rd graders have already experimented with electronic cigarettes and that 2% of them have daily use. To learn more information on e liquid nicotine, click on this link.

The electronic cigarette and the law
Is it a medical product?

According to the Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des produits de santé (ANSM), drug regulation could apply to electronic cigarettes and their refills if:

they claim smoking cessation assistance
the quantity of nicotine contained in the cartridge is greater than or equal to 10 mg
the “e-liquid” refill solution has a nicotine concentration greater than or equal to 20 mg/ml
No electronic cigarette has a marketing authorisation (MA) as a medicinal product, and no manufacturer has submitted an application to that effect.

In addition, electronic cigarettes, with or without nicotine, cannot be sold in pharmacies because they are not included in the list of goods that pharmacists can sell, set by the orders of 15 February 2002, 30 April 2002 and 2 October 2006.

To date, electronic cigarettes or refill solutions are considered to be everyday consumer products. As such, they must meet the general safety requirement in accordance with the provisions of the Consumer Code.

What are the controls carried out on the quality of electronic cigarettes and their refills?

Refill liquids, when they are not considered as medicinal products, are also subject to the provisions of Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 or the Order of 9 November 2004 on the classification, labelling and packaging of dangerous mixtures. Product labels may be modified if new nicotine toxicity data are obtained.

In addition, the French Standards Association (AFNOR) is working with a European technical group to establish a European standard for e-cigarettes and e-liquids, the challenges of which are to collectively define safety and quality criteria and promote better information for consumers, based on French experimental standards and all European expertise.

Post Author: Barbara D. Young

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