The German government has adopted a very tolerant approach to vaping culture. As a result, many local residents can be seen casually using their e-cigarettes in the street, or even on train platforms. This permissive attitude is currently the subject of some controversy, with vocal pro and con sides.
E-cigarettes are heavily regulated in many countries throughout the world. In Thailand, for example, e-cigs are quite simply illegal, and those caught in the act, or with e-cig devices, risk sever fines and even prison sentences. This law is applicable to both locals and visitors on holiday. Another example: Finland is the most repressive country in Europe when it comes to vaping, having banned the practice in public spaces and set very high tax rates on e-liquids containing nicotine.
Other countries, however, have incorporated e-cigarettes into their anti-smoking health plans, such as the United Kingdom. In Germany, regulations on vaping are relatively lax, but the product remains contested.
Germany, a model for Europe
A number of voices, critical of vaping in Germany, deplore the lack of sufficient legislation for these products. Adversaries of vaping culture are quick to cry out that vaping can be a gateway drug to tobacco consumption, in order to incite the government to intervene, despite the fact that this has never been demonstrated conclusively.
The scientific community, on the other hand, highlight the benefits of vaping. They agree that vaping devices that deliver nicotine have a potential to cause addiction. However, nicotine is not a cancer-causing agent, while cigarettes have been proven to be highly carcinogenic many times over. By changing their habits, smokers who switch to vaping can considerably reduce their risk of catching potentially fatal diseases.
The German government seems to have come to the conclusion that making it easy to access e-cigarettes can give smokers a highly effective solution to help them quit… And this may represent an example to lead for other countries, unless European authorities decide to crack down on the consumption and sale of vaping products across the union.