Are e-cigarettes legal


Various e-cigarettes, also known as "electronic cigarettes", are sold in Switzerland. What they have in common is that they consist of the following parts: a mouthpiece, a rechargeable battery, an electric vaporizer and a cartridge with the liquid to be vaporized. This is heated or nebulized when the mouthpiece is pulled and then inhaled. There are liquids with and without nicotine.

Legal basis

E-cigarettes, including cartridges and liquids, currently fall under the scope of food law and are treated as articles of daily use.

In the new Tobacco Products Act, e-cigarettes will one day be equated with tobacco products. On November 30, 2018, the Federal Council referred the dispatch on the Tobacco Products Act to Parliament. After this law came into force, e-cigarettes would then be regarded as tobacco products and no longer as commodities. They would be subject to the same restrictions as conventional cigarettes (advertising restriction, ban on selling to minors).

In order to close the existing legal loophole in the area of ​​youth protection, the FSVO twice invited representatives of the e-cigarette industry for talks in autumn 2018. This resulted in two codes for the submission age and advertising restrictions.

Representatives of the Swiss Tobacco Trade Association and the Swiss Vape Trade Association (SVTA) and independent market participants have committed to complying with the rules of conduct until the Tobacco Products Act comes into force. The jointly declared goal - a significant improvement in the protection of minors with regard to the submission age and advertising restrictions - can thus be achieved.

Marketing of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes

The federal law on protection against passive smoking does not include e-cigarettes today. E-cigarettes with medicinal products, such as those used for smoking cessation, may only be sold in Switzerland with approval from Swissmedic.

The Swiss food legislation, in particular Article 61 of the Ordinance on Foodstuffs and Utility Articles (LGV), does not permit the placing on the market of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes. However, the importation of e-cigarettes for private use is permitted.

With the judgment of the Federal Administrative Court of April 24, 2018, based on the Cassis de Dijon principle, nicotine-containing e-cigarettes from the EU or the EEA can also be placed on the market in Switzerland. Prerequisite: The products must meet the technical requirements of an EU or EEA member state and be lawfully on the market in this country. Such products may also be manufactured and sold in Switzerland if they comply with the requirements of EU law.

EU guidelines

For e-cigarettes containing nicotine, the requirements of EU Directive 2014/40 / EU apply in Switzerland. If these are adhered to, the products are generally considered to be safe

In the EU, Directive 2014/40 / EU of April 3, 2014 on the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products and related products harmonizes the regulations on the placing on the market and labeling of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes. The EU directive also imposes sponsorship and advertising restrictions on these products (in online information services, the press, other printed matter, radio and television).

Member States are allowed to regulate areas that EU law does not harmonize, such as the minimum age for buying e-cigarettes. You can also impose additional advertising restrictions on a national level. The majority of Member States, including Germany, France and Italy, prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

Health risks

It's important to know: e-cigarettes are relatively new products. They are luxury foods that should always be consumed in moderation. The FSVO and the BAG advise caution when consuming e-cigarettes, because the long-term health effects are still largely unknown. The vapor from certain e-cigarettes also contains carcinogenic substances.

The FSVO and the BAG advise against ordering from Internet providers outside the EU for personal consumption, as it is difficult for private individuals to assess the safety of such products. In addition, it is beyond any legal control if liquids are mixed together in the modular system.