It seems that those who switched to electronic cigarettes to avoid having to go outside to smoke will now have to do the same with their e-cigarettes. Spain's Ministry of Health wishes to apply similar legislation as with tobacco products.
Should the legislation pass, it will mean that smoking electronic cigarettes (or "vaping" as it is known) will soon be illegal in enclosed public spaces, such as shops, offices, schools, hospitals, restaurants and bars.
While not all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, many do. Besides this, they contain various flavored waters (mint, vanilla, strawberry etc.) as well as other chemical ingredients.
ABC (in Spanish) reports that when smoking an e-cigarette, the liquid is heated to generate steam, which is then drawn into the lungs. The Ministry of Health has stated that some of the chemical ingredients used in the e-cigarettes can be toxic, as has already been reported to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The World Health Organization (WHO) also recently advised against using e-cigarettes "until there is data showing that they are safe, effective and of acceptable quality products."
Spain's Health Minister Ana Mato has put forward the proposal to regulate these e-cigarettes, as was done with tobacco products.
The minister's statement comes in the wake of recent announcements by authorities in Andalusia and Catalonia that they plan to ban e-cigarettes in public schools and hospitals. The regional health authority in Catalonia had said that it didn't want the devices becoming "a gateway to smoking."
Besides being available from specialist shops, who are trying to make the product a glamorous item, they are being sold in pharmacies, kiosks and herbalist shops and so are generally very available to the public, whereas tobacco products can only be sold from official outlets.
Other measures proposed include health warnings on the products, advising that nicotine is addictive. Officials state that the e-cigarettes cannot be considered a substitute for tobacco, or as a medicine to help a person quit smoking.
El Mundo (in Spanish) reports that the National Committee for Smoking Prevention (NPTC) has also called on the MInistry of Health to regulate the product as the organization, together cardiologists, pulmonologists and oncologists, feel that the electronic cigarette "threatens the progress of the anti-tobacco campaigns."
The NPTC has released a document stating that these devices contain nicotine and "are not proven to help the cessation of smoking." On the contrary, they state that it can induce "a dangerous normalization of smoking."
The NPTC also stresses the fact that the product can contain toxic substances that are harmful to health and that they "should not be used in enclosed public spaces."
So if you live in Spain and enjoy your e-cigarettes, "vap" while you can, as soon it seems you will be huddling out in the cold with the regular cigarette smokers.
It's now official, as of Wednesday this week, smoking e-cigarettes in enclosed public spaces is banned.