News | Sunday, 10 January 2010

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Non-tobacco ‘e-cigarettes’ will also fall prey to smoking ban

More than a year after MaltaToday revealed that the Health Ministry had classified the tobacco-free ‘e-cigarette’ as a tobacco product, a legal notice has established that even these devices will fall under the smoking ban.
The legal notice states that any “device which is intended as a substitute to a conventional tobacco product” shall fall under the Tobacco (Smoking Control) Act.
The e-cigarette is a tobacco-free device that is used to replicate the sensation of a traditional cigarette by means of an electronic simulation. Containing neither tobacco, nor tar, it is a nuisance-free solution for passive smokers.
According to the legal notice, any device bearing the word ‘cigarette’ or ‘tobacco’ which is intended as a substitute to a conventional tobacco product shall be deemed as a tobacco device.
It further stipulates that “all tobacco devices are to comply with the provisions of the Tobacco Act”, which means that they cannot be freely advertised, that they cannot be smoked in enclosed public spaces and that they can only be used by adults over the age of 18.
The e-cigarette looks very much like a plastic cigarette, with a mouthpiece containing a replaceable cartridge filled with liquid containing nicotine, a solvent called propylene glycol and flavourings. As smokers inhale, a sensor between the mouthpiece and the rod (which is actually the device’s rechargeable battery) activates a microprocessor to disperse the cartridge liquid into tiny droplets onto a small, inbuilt burner.
As the droplets sense the heat, the liquid is vapourised along with the nicotine. When the user inhales this vapour, the feeling of traditional smoking is simulated, and the vapour exhaled is somewhat similar to normal cigarette smoke – with the exception that it is odourless and it settles after a few seconds.
Those making use of it get their nicotine fix without the adverse effects of a normal cigarette. In the UK, the e-cigarette has allowed smokers to puff away happily in public spaces, legally and with no complaints from bystanders.

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