Spanish e-cigarette regulation in a nutshell
Spain joined the EU in 1986 and has been part of the Eurozone since its inception. It is a signatory of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), and it has tough anti-smoking regulations in place, yet it has a high prevalence of smoking by European standards. According to the most recent ECigIntelligence survey data, around 28% of adults smoke and a total of 1.4% are daily or occasional vapers.
The sale and use of e-cigarettes principally involves health and consumer protection concerns. Responsibility for these in Spain is traditionally shared between national and regional governments. Power belongs mainly to the regions, but central government has the capacity to establish common principles – which the regions must respect.
The regions have an important role overseeing retail outlets distributing e-cigs and ensuring the adequacy of potential adverse health effect monitoring. In addition, regions often establish their own agenda independently, especially those that have a very distinct identity or political reality.
The Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare said in August 2019 that it wants to expand the laws regulating tobacco consumption and adapt it to all new forms of nicotine consumption – including e-cigarettes – but acknowledges that it does not know whether there will be a change in the current legislation or a new one, and that everything is still under discussion.
At the same time, the authorities have launched a new campaign entitled ‘El tobaco ata y te mata’ (tobacco binds and kills you), which – according to the media – aims to raise awareness, particularly among young people.
Some of the autonomous communities have also moved to regulate e-cigarettes, or at least start the process of regulating them, whilst some others have declared against it.