The French audiovisual regulator (“Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel”) was recently faced with advertising spots or product placement for electronic cigarettes. Not being in a position to rule on the legality of this type of advertising, the Authority has decided to approach the Minister of Health in order to receive the necessary clarifications. The latter has indeed confirmed the imminent adoption of provisions allowing the legal qualification of this new type of product. In addition, the European Commission has also undertaken the adoption of a legal framework in this field.
In France, Article L. 3511-3 of the Public Health Code forbids, directly or indirectly, the advertisement or propaganda in favour of the tobacco consumption. However, some advocate that e-cigarettes should qualify as as a human medicines as a means to help reducing tobacco addiction. If such was the legal qualification finally adopted, the product in question would be out of the scope of the Evin Law (Article L. 3511-1 of the Public Health Code) and would fall into the scope of Article L. 5121-2 of the Public Health Code and therefore, could be advertised.
Meanwhile, the French audiovisual regulator faces a legal vacuum making it impossible to sanction this type of commercial communication.