The electronic cigarette is being used by millions across the world, in countries from the US to China, UK to India, where it is proving itself as an invaluable alternative to the conventional cigarette. But because of the legal problems wrapped up with using cigarettes, and the relative novelty of the e-cig, it’s only natural for many to ask “the electric cigarette, is it legal?”
Before you can answer that, you need to understand what actually makes an electronic cigarette tick, how does it compare to, and how does it differ from, a normal tobacco cigarette? The electronic cigarette consists of three basic pieces, a cartridge filled with e-liquid, a battery and an atomiser, which houses a mouthpiece and a heating element to vaporise the e-liquid in the cartridge.
It is the e-liquid in the cartridge which contains this nicotine which makes the electronic cigarette a good candidate to as a substitute for tobacco smoking. When you draw on the mouthpiece, the atomiser senses this and heats a small amount of e-liquid, producing your nicotine-infused vapour. Apart from the nicotine, the e-liquid is made of one of two safe and common substances (vegetable glycerine or propylene glycol), and similarly safe flavourings, such as vanilla, apple and cherry flavours.
All of these ingredients are generally recognised as safe, legally available and are used in many other products, so that answers the most immediate aspect of whether e-cigarettes are legal. But what about the anti-smoking legislation – does that cover e-cigarettes? What are the facts when it comes to smoking in public then “the electronc cigarette is it legal in public places?”
Here in India, smoking tobacco cigarettes is banned. The Health Act 2006 says that smoking in public consists of burning of tobacco products, or other substances, to produce smoke for inhalation. On the first score, the electronic cigarette clearly doesn’t fit into the ‘tobacco products’ bucket, it doesn’t contain any tobacco, or any other tobacco products for that matter. On the second point, about burning, electronic cigarettes rather cleverly avoid the need for combustion. Nothing is being burnt, just vaporised, and no noxious smoke, with all those nasty smoke particles, are produced.
So as far as public smoking goes, the electric cigarette is legal. This is hardly surprising, as the main market anticipated by the designers of the electronic cigarettes was for smokers who still needed a nicotine hit when in public spaces. The electronic cigarette was designed to be used in this way from the start, and to be as inoffensive as possible for bystanders.
If you’re fed up with having to slink off to have a furtive smoke, or being harassed by those who see their job as being to enforce the smoking law themselves personally, then the electronic cigarette offers a legal means for your liberation. Once people have gotten used to the idea of e-cigarettes being a safe and less irritating way of smokers enjoying nicotine, it won’t be long before non-smokers are asking to have a puff on your legal e-fag!
As you can see “the are electronic cigarettes legal?” question is not an issue to be worried about – more important is selecting from among the many alternatives available for this great substitute for tobacco.