E-Cigarettes: France Banning Them in Public, Will Other Countries Follow Suit?

On Friday, the Health Ministry of France issued a ban on e-cigarettes that is similar to the ban on tobacco and regular cigarettes: they are forbidden in public places, and blacked out in advertisements in sectors of the media.

E-cigarettes have increased in popularity many times over since 2011, when new brands of the mechanical nicotine vaporizer marketed a more modern appeal that legitimized them in the hearts and minds of smokers. They are now also receiving serious consideration from lawmakers in France, who think the newly popular devices are a menace to public health.

A new government report finds that 500,000 Frenchmen are already smoking e-cigs. They also believe it will lead to traditional — and even more unhealthy— cigarette smoking.

"This is no ordinary product because it encourages mimicking and could promote taking up smoking," said Health Minister Marisol Touraine in the press conference she lead to announce this forerunning legal blockade.

Will this opposition to the e-cig become among the world’s governments? France is quite a progressive nation, but is also famously cigarette-crazy. In New York City, we have a health-forward figurehead in Michael Bloomberg. Perhaps Mayor Bloomberg will impose a public ban in bars and such, where the mild, odorless vapor of e-cigarettes is a more and more common sight. On the federal level, lobbying power and the general slogging pace of Congress will likely slow any intention to curb e-cigs development. In nations like China and Indonesia, where smoking is crazy popular, frankly, it is safe to say the government does not give a damn.

Perhaps other progressive nations in northern Europe like Sweden and Switzerland have the governmental inclination to take measures against e-cigs. Otherwise the e-cigs brands hold the ball in their court. They are gaining attraction from people who could be called early adopters of the e-cig, but eventually, I predict they will be a permanent margarine to cigarette’s butter. Healthier but also not as cool, so decidedly less of a danger.