In Belgium, the sale and use of e-cigarettes must comply with a series of rules, established to protect the consumer and his or her entourage. There are general measures for all types of e-cigarettes and specific measures for e-cigarettes with nicotine. The Royal Decree of 28 October 2016 on the manufacture and marketing of electronic cigarettes was published on 17 November 2016. Specific measures for electronic cigarettes with nicotine will apply from 17 January 2017.
In Belgium, e-cigarettes are considered a tobacco-like product. That is why:
- it is forbidden to smoke e-cigarettes in closed public spaces;
- it is prohibited to advertise and promote e-cigarettes, except in bookshops and specialised retail outlets. Websites, Facebook pages and flyers are allowed under conditions. Only the following items may be displayed:
- The store's logo if it is not linked to a brand's logo
- References to studies
- The technical specifications and the product types
- The address and contact details of the shop
- The prices (in neutral letters) of brands, products and parts of products available in the shop;
- the following are banned:
- Images/pictures of products
- Pictures of shops
- Economic or promotional discounts on the price of a product
- Special presentations (product highlighting)
- Special offers (Black Friday, sales, etc.);
- it is prohibited to sell e-cigarettes to children under 16 years of age;
- It is prohibited to sell e-cigarettes over the Internet. All elements specific to the manufacture of an e-cigarette that could contain e-liquid with nicotine, may not be sold over the Internet to consumers. B2B distance selling and the sale of nicotine free e-liquid are allowed.
Chemicals contained in e-cigarettes must be registered with the European Chemicals Agency. This is about complying with the European REACH regulation:
- Registration is required when the substance (produced or imported) reaches one tonne per year.
- Each individual substance must be registered.
- Some chemical substances (such as mercury and cadmium) are prohibited in e-cigarettes, refills and batteries.
In order to comply with the CLP regulation, liquids in e-cigarettes containing hazardous substances and mixtures must:
- be labelled with a specific label (such as hazard pictograms); and
- be reported to the Belgian Poison Control Centre to enable a quick and effective response in case of poisoning.
Products placed on the market must also comply with the Code of Economic Law, Book IX. They may not pose any risk under normal conditions of use.
The composition of nicotine-containing e-cigarettes is regulated by law:
- Refill containers may not exceed the volume of 10 milliliters.
- Cartridges and tanks shall not exceed 2 milliliters.
- The nicotine concentration may not exceed 20 mg/ml.
- Nicotine doses must be delivered at consistent levels.
- Some additives such as vitamins, caffeine and CMR substances are prohibited.
- E-cigarettes and refill containers must be child-proof and must be protected against breakage and leakage.
The labelling is also regulated:
- The packaging of e-cigarettes and refill containers shall carry the following health warning on the two largest surfaces: “This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance. It is not recommended for use by non-smokers”.
- The following should also appear on the label:
- all ingredients contained in the product in descending order of the weight;
- an indication of the nicotine content of the product and the delivery per dose;
- the batch number; and
- a recommendation that the product should be kept out of the reach of children.
- The packaging must include a leaflet with information on:
- instructions for use and storage;
- adverse effects;
- addictiveness and toxicity; and
- contact details of the manufacturer or importer.