Legalization of E-cigarette in Lebanon

Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes usage are very in-demand these days. In almost every places around the world, you will see people using this new kind of fad. Even in most TV programs and movies, electronic cigarettes exposure prevails. In Lebanon, it has been four years when Juul or what they called Vaporesso, and other brand of electronic cigarettes had been marketed. And its not been so long when another novelties from the tobacco industry in Lebanon had joined the e-cig bandwagon.

The three giants of e-cigarette devices that also penetrate the Lebanese market are the Japan Tobacco International’s (JTI) Ploom, British American Tobacco’s (BAT) Glo, and the Philip Morris International’s (PMI) Iqos. These three had enormously become famous in that country making Lebanon stays in the ranking as the third highest number of smokers in the world. However, despite of the fact that e-cigarette is permitted because of the lesser harm that it may cause as what its companies are marketing, e-cigarettes are officially prohibited on Lebanese terrain. To be able to pursue their want to use this kind of tobacco alternative, users may have to import them from other country or purchase them on the illegal commerce to depart from the prohibition.

Regularization and legalization

In 2013, the e-cigarette was first attempted to be regulated. Similar with South Africa which has new vaping law, an application for the permission of the importation and sale of the product as tobacco alternative to eradicate nicotine addiction was submitted to the Ministry of Health. However, it was rejected because the product was categorized only as a product equivalent.

E-cigarettes were classified not as a type of medication, but only as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes.

In 2015, the Ministry of Finance got a hand to regulate it. With its decision, the regulation of e-cigarettes importation was made into practice in Lebanon which includes the flavored liquid heating apparatus, heated tobacco items, and liquid nicotine items like the air factory. Unfortunately, after three years, the electronic device is still sold in the commerce illegally due to the level of tax being imposed to the product.

Insufficiency to supervise

The Lebanese Law 174 has been enforced but not to address all the disputes positioned by the e-cigarettes, especially the issue of nicotine levels. Moreover, the US FDA intend to have stricter policies regarding the sale of flavored e-liquids. Eradication of nicotine addiction and the desire to quit smoking is not only the responsibility of the government. It should also comes from the voluntary appeal of an individual. Sad to say, Lebanon, both the government and the individuals seem not to be prepared to go on for this law to be imposed in their territory at this moment.