Every country is debating how to handle the growing e-cig trend, but regulation plans are varied heavily from one place to the next. While the United States is looking to treat ecigs as tobacco products, the UK plans to classify them as medications and regulate them accordingly. But in Germany, ecigs are not considered either and now a Judge insists that vape shops are free to sell them whenever and however they see fit.
The Federal Administrative Court delivered the ruling this week after over two years of legal battles. The whole struggle began when city officials in Wuppertal told a vape store owner that she was not permitted to sell e-liquids. However, she was determined to fight back against their bogus claims and took the manner straight to a lower level courtroom where she came out victorious. Not to be deterred, city officials took the matter to the higher federal court only to be defeated once again when the judge ruled in favor of the vape store owner.
The judge explained that e-liquids cannot be treated as medications because they don’t meet a few basic qualifications. In order to be classified as medication, a substance must be used to treat a real physiological issue of the human body. It can be used as a treatment or preventative measure, but it must make a measureable change for a pre-intended purpose. E-liquids do not fit the bill and the judge also pointed out that they have no lasting therapeutic effect so it makes no sense to limit sales by arguing that e-liquids are unlicensed medications.
After the hearing, German vape shops are now free to sell e-liquids in both brick and mortar shops and online. This is a landmark case for Germany because there have been multiple similar stories in other areas of the country where local authorities tried to shut down vape shops based on the medication argument. Hopefully other nations including the United States will take notice of how Germany is handling the ecig issue with a hands-off approach. Sometimes less regulation and more freedom is really the way to go.