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Banned in Brazil, sale of electronic cigarettes is allowed in 80 countries

A public hearing in the Senate this Thursday (28) will debate the importance of regulating electronic cigarettes in Brazil. Here, the sale of “vapes” is prohibited, as well as in 31 other countries.

However, in other nations, regulation has allowed greater control and supervision of this trade. At least 80 countries — such as the United States, United Kingdom and Canada — have approved sales, but always with regulations, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO also points to a tendency towards harm reduction compared to traditional cigarettes in these countries where consumption and sale are permitted.

A year ago, the British Ministry of Health said that vaporizers are 95% less harmful than regular cigarettes. Although UK authorities also warn of the risks, experts say that vaporizers can serve as an initial alternative for those who want to quit smoking.

“I think that’s the main reason why electronic cigarettes, or vapes as we call them, exist. They do not exist so that someone can start using them without having previously been a smoker or without trying to quit smoking. The reason we want them to exist is as a substitute for traditional cigarettes,” explained Konstantinos Farsalinos, cardiologist and researcher at the Onassis Heart Surgery Center.

In the United States, a recent study, released at the end of June by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that monthly sales of electronic cigarettes in the country increased by 46.6%, exceeding 15.5 million units sold in January 2020 to 22.7 million in December 2022. This does not include online commerce.

But in these countries where sales and consumption are permitted, there are several rules. Portugal and Italy, for example, have established limits on the amount of nicotine present in the liquid and the size of the refill cartridge.

Experts highlight that legal sales can provide more security for consumers.

“The lack of regulation hinders this issue, because what we have are products, the vast majority of which are smuggled from Paraguay or China, when not made in backyard factories, without any sanitary control, without any quality control. quality”, ponders Rodolfo Behrsin, pulmonologist.

Swedish example and British “switch to stop” project

An example of regulation in the use of electronic cigarettes comes from Sweden, which considers vapes to be less harmful than conventional cigarettes.

As a first step for smokers to permanently get rid of tobacco addiction, Swedish authorities encourage them to initially migrate to electronic devices.

With this measure, Sweden is very close to becoming the first nation in Europe considered ‘smoking free’, with a rate below 5% in the incidence of smokers in its population.

In the United Kingdom, the country is also considered a model in terms of regulation. With the motto “switch to quit”, the Ministry of Health started a project to supply vaporizers to help at least 1 million adults give up traditional cigarettes.

The initiative will cost 45 million pounds, around R$270 million, and is part of a package announced by the country’s government that also includes combating illicit sales and those under 18 years of age.

Figures from the NHS, the UK’s public health service, released last year revealed that 9% of secondary school students use vapes, including almost one in five 15-year-olds.

“The problem I see has been the adherence of young people who start using this product, and what is needed to minimize this is a good regulatory system”, highlighted Karl Fagerström, a specialist in smoking cessation.

In Asia, regulation has also been implemented. In Japan, for example, the share of consumers who switched to vapes reached 25% of adult smokers.

In Oceania, the New Zealand Ministry of Health created a website with information about electronic cigarettes. There, vapes appear as an ally for those who want to reduce or stop tobacco consumption.

“It is absolutely important that consumers receive accurate communication about the risks, scientific communication about what the differences are between cigarettes and these products that reduce risk”, said Delon Human, doctor and president of Health Diplomats.

In turn, Jorge Alberto Costa e Silva, former president of the National Academy of Medicine, highlights that “it doesn’t hurt to give credit to what, if already done within these criteria, already works in other countries. Let’s study carefully how it worked, why it’s working and not reinvent the wheel.”

Source: CNN Brasil

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