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Bill on electronic cigarettes is debated in the Brazilian Senate

The Federal Senate held a public hearing this Tuesday (21) to debate a bill that aims to regulate electronic cigarettes in Brazil. The discussion takes place a month after the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) decided to maintain the ban on these devices, a rule that has been in force since 2009.

The hearing brought together health experts, representatives of the tobacco industry and senators to advance discussions on the project authored by senator Soraya Tronique (PL). The proposal covers the production, marketing and advertising of electronic cigarettes, currently banned in the country.

According to the senator, Anvisa's measure has not prevented access to devices popularly known as “vapes”.

“In fact, we are in a legal limbo because Anvisa banned commercialization and imports, but consumption is fully permitted. We want to rein in this illegal market that has reached proportions that are impossible to reverse,” he said.

A study by the Federation of Industries of Minas Gerais shows that Brazil could collect around R$3.5 billion in taxes if electronic cigarettes were regulated. In addition, 124 thousand new formal and informal jobs would be created.

On the other hand, the Federal Council of Medicine maintains that the use of these devices does not reduce the quantity or quality of inhaled nicotine, which would have a direct impact on the Unified Health System (SUS) spending on treating smokers.

Dirceu Barbano, former director of Anvisa responsible for signing the ban on electronic cigarettes in 2009, argues that current numbers justify regulation. “When there was a ban, the market was very restricted. Today, with the market already full of products and the ease of importing them illegally, it seems to me that not placing these products under the same sanitary control applied to conventional cigarettes creates a problem,” he stated.

The bill is still being processed by the Senate's Economic Affairs Committee and must be analyzed by other bodies before going to the Chamber of Deputies.

Source: CNN Brasil

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