Revised: 5 November 2010

Categorisation of Electronic Cigarettes

An electronic cigarette (e-cig) comprises a battery powered cigarette-shaped body with a mouthpiece or "cartridge" holding an absorbent material that is saturated with a flavoured liquid solution that may contain nicotine. E-cigs are commonly sold with a fitted cartridge but are also supplied as a battery powered vapourising unit to which a cartridge of choice can be fitted at a later time.

The categorisation of an e-cig product depends on how it is presented for sale, including the intended use claimed for the product by the supplier and whether this use has a therapeutic purpose as defined in the Medicines Act 1981.

Electronic cigarette decision path

The following table provides further guidance on "intended purpose" language or claims that will be regarded as suggestive of a therapeutic purpose.

Therapeutic purpose
Supports or aids smoking cessation
Remedy against/ helps alleviate nicotine addiction or the symptoms of nicotine addiction
Helps you quit smoking/ smoke less
Reduce your nicotine intake