German Court Rejects E-Liquids as Medications

Nations around the world are struggling to figure out how to best regulate electronic cigarettes. In the United States, the FDA is working on creating new regulations that would essentially reduce ecigs to nothing better than tobacco products in terms of legalities. In the UK, ecigs will be regulated as medications starting in 2016. But for Germany, the answer wasn’t quite so clear cut. In fact, the issue went all the way to the Federal Administrative Court before a judge determined that e-liquids are not eligible for classification as medications and retailers should be able to sell the ecig liquids freely.

The German case began in 2012 when city authorities in Wuppertal told a vape shop owner that she could not sell e-liquids. They claimed that the e-liquids were unlicensed pharmaceutical products and should not be sold outside of licensed pharmacies. She fought the officials and took them to court, winning in a lower court, but the city took the issue to a higher court. Fortunately, this judge also ruled in favor of the vape shop claiming that e-liquids can be freely sold in stores and online because they do not meat the necessary standards to be classified as medications.

According to German law, a substance can only be defined as medication if it is used as a treatment of preventative measure against disease. It must have the purpose of correcting, restoring, or modifying a physiological function of the body. E-liquids do not treat any disease and they do not have any lasting therapeutic effect, so the judge said they could not be rightly called medications by law.

In this particular case and in other similar cases in Germany, ecig sellers and manufacturers managed to come out victorious by fighting back. While it took a long, expensive legal process to make it happen, they won the right to continue freely selling electronic cigarettes. It’s a timely reminder for us as a vaping community to continue fighting for our own personal freedoms. We do not have to take regulatory changes sitting down. Each of us has a voice, a unique story of how electronic cigarettes impacted our lives. It’s more important than ever that we stand up for e-cigarettes and fight against regulatory injustices.

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