- In Australia, the Federal Department of Health and Ageing classifies every form of nicotine, except for replacement therapies and cigarettes, as a form of poison. In the state of Victoria, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has said that there were no laws preventing the importation of e-cigarettes bought over the internet for personal use, unless prohibited by state and territory legislation.
- In Brazil, the sale, importation and advertising of any kind of electronic cigarette is forbidden. The Brazilian health and sanitation federal agency, Anvisa, found the current health safety assessments about e-cigarettes to not be yet satisfactory for commercial approval eligibility.
- In Canada, as of March 2009, while the importation, sale, and advertising of electronic cigarettes containing nicotine is not endorsed, the products may be sold and used. Health Canada has advised Canadian consumers not to purchase or use any electronic smoking products, citing the prohibition of electronic smoking products containing tobacco in the Food and Drugs Act. Canadian Customs now confiscate any parcel containing e-cigarettes with nicotine and notify the receiving party via a mail letter. The parcel is returned to the sender only at the request of the receiving party or otherwise destroyed.
- In China, the sale and use of electronic cigarettes is legal.
- In Egypt, the Egyptian Ministry of Health technical committee has rejected applications for marketing authorization of electronic cigarettes on the grounds that they contain harmful chemicals, and lack safety and toxicity data.
- In Hong Kong the sale and possession of nicotine-based electronic cigarettes, classified as a Type I Poison, is governed under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance. Sale or possession is not authorized and both are considered punishable with a fine of up to HK$100,000 and/or a prison term of 2 years. However, the law does not cover any non-nicotine inhalers.
- In India, the use of electronic cigarettes is currently legal. Under the Indian Health Law of 2006, tobacco smoking has been banned in public. Since e-cigarettes avoid the use of tobacco, they do not fall under this law.
- In Lebanon, the council of ministers has banned the sale and use of electronic cigarettes, starting 21 September 2011.
- In Malaysia, the sale of e-cigarettes is an offence under the Poisons Act 1952 and the Control of Drugs and Cosmetics Regulations 1984. Those found guilty of selling and distributing the product (as well as liquid nicotine for use in electronic cigarettes) will be fined no more than RM3,000, be jailed for no more than two years, or both. The Malaysian Health Minister stated that e-cigarettes containing liquid nicotine is more harmful than normal cigarettes and warned Malaysians to avoid them.
- In Mexico, the Federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risks, announced that according to Mexican Law, the selling and promotion of non-tobacco objects that include elements generally associated with tobacco products are forbidden.
- In Nepal, under current cigarette laws, the use and sale of e-cigarettes is permitted.
- In New Zealand, the Ministry of Health has ruled that the Ruyan e-cigarette falls under the requirements of the Medicines Act, and cannot be sold except as a registered medicine. Since the ruling, Ruyan has obtained registration, and sale is currently allowed in pharmacies.
- In Pakistan, the import and sale of electronic cigarettes is legal, but Pakistan Medical and Dental council find that the current health safety assessments of e-cigarettes to not yet be satisfactory.
- In Panama, the importation, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes have been prohibited since June 2009. The Ministry of Health cites the FDA findings as their reasoning for the ban.
- In Singapore, the sale and importation of electronic cigarettes, even for personal consumption, is illegal. According to Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan, electronic cigarettes are the industry’s attempt to attract new users and were marketed to appeal to younger customers, including women.
- In South Korea, the sale and use of electronic cigarettes is legal, but is heavily taxed. Electric cigarette possession among teenagers remains an issue.
- In Switzerland, the sale of nicotine-free electronic cigarettes is legal. The use and importation of electronic cigarettes containing nicotine is legal, but they cannot be sold within the country. As of December 2011, the tobacco tax does not apply to e-cigarettes and respective liquids containing nicotine.
- In Austria nicotine-containing cartridges are classified as medicinal products and e-cigarettes for nicotine inhalation as medical devices.
- In the Czech Republic, the use, sale and advertising of electronic cigarettes is legal.
- In Denmark, the Danish Medicines Agency classifies electronic cigarettes containing nicotine as medicinal products. Thus, authorization is required before the product may be marketed and sold, and no such authorization has currently been given. The agency has clarified, however, that electronic cigarettes that do not administer nicotine to the user, and are not otherwise used for the prevention or treatment of disease, are not considered medicinal devices. The use of electronic cigarettes has not been prohibited in Copenhagen Airport, but at least one airline (Scandinavian Airlines) has decided to ban their use on board flights.
- In Estonia, It is legal to buy nicotine containing e-liquids for personal use from another citizen or from outside the country as long as the package is sent as a private citizen and contains no more than 100ml of e-liquid per month (up to 500ml at a time). The nicotine amount within the e-liquid is unregulated. Commercial sale of nicotine containing e-liquid is illegal, commercial sale of electronic cigarette hardware and non nicotine e-liquids is legal.
- In Finland, the National Supervisory Authority of Welfare and Health (Valvira) declared that the new tobacco marketing ban (effective 1 January 2012) will also cover electronic cigarettes, resulting in that Finnish stores or webstores can’t advertise e-cigarettes because they might look like regular cigarettes. In theory, e-cigarettes with nicotine-free cartridges may still be sold, as long as their images and prices are not visible. Ordering from abroad remains allowed. Sale of nicotine cartridges is currently prohibited, as nicotine is considered a prescription drug requiring an authorization that such cartridges do not yet have. However, the Finnish authorities have decided that nicotine cartridges containing less than 10 mg nicotine, and e-liquid containing less than 0,42 g nicotine per bottle, may be legally brought in from other countries for private use. If the nicotine content is higher, a prescription from a Finnish physician is required. From a country within the European Economic Area a maximum of one year’s supply may be brought in for private use when returning to Finland, while three months’ supply may be brought in from outside the EEA. Mail order deliveries from EEA countries, for a maximum of three months’ supply, are also allowed.
- In Germany, sale of electronic cigarettes and nicotine-containing cartridges is not forbidden. The electronic cigarette ban outspoken by the health minister of NRW on the press conference on 16 December 2011 is not a legally binding ban but merely exercised free speech.
- In Ireland, the sale and use of electronic cigarettes is legal. As they are not considered a tobacco product, they can be displayed where on sale along with prices.
- In Italy, by a Health Ministry decree (G.U. Serie Generale, n. 248 del 23 ottobre 2012) electronic cigarettes containing nicotine cannot be sold to individuals under 16 years old.
- In Latvia, the Ministry of Health has warned that the e-cigarette can cause harm to cardiovascular, hepatic and renal systems, however, e-cigarettes are legal, and are sold in most shopping centers and at Riga’s airport, as well as via the internet to individuals at least 18 years old.
- In the Netherlands, use and sale of electronic cigarettes is allowed, but advertising is forbidden pending European Union legislation.
- In Norway electronic cigarettes and nicotine can only be imported from other EEA member states (e.g. the UK) for private use.
- In Poland, the sale and use of electronic cigarettes are legal.
- In Portugal, the sale and use of electronic cigarettes are legal.
- In the United Kingdom, the use, sale and advertising of electronic cigarettes is legal. Electronic cigarettes are also allowed to be used inside pubs, coffee shops, etc. where the smoking of tobacco is illegal.
History of US e-Cig and Vapor Laws
- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would regulate the sale of electronic cigarettes within the state on grounds that “if adults want to purchase and consume these products with an understanding of the associated health risks, they should be able to do so.”
- In 2009, New Jersey voted to treat the electronic cigarette in the same category as tobacco products by including under the New Jersey Smoke Free Air Act. Assemblywoman Connie Wagner sponsored the legislation arguing that they “looked like the real thing”; she also objected to the potential appeal of flavored electric cigarettes to children.
- The sale of electronic cigarettes to minors in New Hampshire was legal. A group of students and a group called “Breathe New Hampshire” were concerned that electronic cigarettes will serve as a gateway to smoking cigarettes through appearing to be trendy: one compared electronic cigarettes to “having a new cell phone. It’s cool. It’s electronic.” They launched petitions to the state government to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. It is now illegal to sell e-cigarettes to minors as of July 2010.
- Arizona has a planned ban of selling electronic cigarettes to minors.
- In Washington, the King County board of health has banned smoking of electronic cigarettes in public places, and prohibited sales to minors. Neighboring Pierce County also prohibits sales to minors, but allows e-cigarette use in places such as bars and workplaces.
- In Maryland HB1272 was introduced by Delegate Aruna Miller and was passed by the General Assembly that bans the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.
- In Oregon in February 2012, Continental Airlines flight 1118 was diverted back to its airport of origin when an unruly passenger with unspecified mental disorders refused to stop using his e-cigarette. The passenger was detained by fellow passengers and later pled guilty to charges of interfering with a flight crew. FAA had not ruled on E-cigarette use on airplanes at the time of the incident, but airlines were and are permitted to establish their own more-restrictive policies on E-cigarette use on planes; Continental (now United Airlines) has a company policy banning them. 
- In Iowa in 2012, the Linn County commissioners approved a decision to regulate the retail sale of electronic cigarettes like tobacco cigarettes. As a result of this decision, retailers who sell electronic cigarettes to persons in Linn County are required to have a retail tobacco license.
- New York State banned the smoking of e-cigarettes within 100 feet of a public or private school entrance in September 2012, and banned e-cigarette sales to minors starting on 1 January 2013.
Individual states have differing legal treatment of electronic cigarettes.
On 22 September 2009, under the authorization of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the FDA banned flavored tobacco (with the notable exception of menthol cigarettes) due to its potential appeal to children. Wagner says that the use of flavorings, such as chocolate, could encourage childhood use and serve as a gateway to cigarette smoking.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified electronic cigarettes as drug delivery devices and subject to regulation under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) prior to importation to and sale in the United States. The classification was challenged in court, and overruled in January 2010 by Federal District Court Judge Richard J. Leon, citing that “the devices should be regulated as tobacco products rather than drug or medical products.” Judge Leon ordered the FDA to stop blocking the importation of electronic cigarettes from China and indicated that the devices should be regulated as tobacco products rather than drug or medical devices.
In March 2010, a US Court of Appeal stayed the injunction pending an appeal, during which the FDA argued the right to regulate electronic cigarettes based on their previous ability to regulate nicotine replacement therapies such as nicotine gum or patches. Further, the agency argued that tobacco legislation enacted the previous year “expressly excludes from the definition of ‘tobacco product’ any article that is a drug, device or combination product under the FDCA, and provides that such articles shall be subject to regulation under the pre-existing FDCA provisions.” On 7 December 2010, the appeals court ruled against the FDA in a 3–0 unanimous decision, ruling the FDA can only regulate electronic cigarettes as tobacco products, and thus cannot block their import.
The judges ruled that such devices would only be subject to drug legislation if they are marketed for therapeutic use – E-cigarette manufacturers had successfully proven that their products were targeted at smokers and not at those seeking to quit. The District of Columbia Circuit appeals court declined to review the decision blocking the products from FDA regulation as medical devices on 24 January 2011.
Concerns about public safety have been raised. However, some former smokers say they have been helped by e-cigarettes, and scientists at the University of California, Berkeley said that e-cigarettes had great potential for reducing the morbidity and mortality related to smoking.