Vaping

Consumers from 3 Continents Say Bans in SA are Unjustified

London, UK: Consumers from countries affected especially strongly by COVID-19 struggle to understand the heavy-handed South African approach of banning alcohol, cigarette, and vape sales during the lockdowns, argues the Consumer Choice Center. These are the voices of consumers from three different continents sharing their views on South Africa’s current ban on tobacco sales:

Nazlıcan Kanmaz from Turkey: “Many people smoke in Turkey and the government is trying to disincentivize it through sin taxes that currently make up 85% of the price of a pack of cigarettes. It is a paternalistic approach, but still not as much as banning all tobacco products–such as in South Africa. Lockdowns are already quite stressful in Turkey as they are usually announced last minute, and I cannot imagine the stress levels of nicotine consumers if the government would enforce such an ill-informed paternalistic policy during a moment of global crisis.”

David Clement from Toronto, Canada: “In Canada, the government responded to COVID19 by expanding consumer choice, not limiting it. Provincial governments in Canada declared convenience stores (where nicotine products are purchased), liquor stores, and even cannabis stores essential businesses so they could meet consumer demand. South Africa would have been far better to approach the pandemic like Canada did, which was without heavy-handed bans.”

Andre Freo from Brazil: “When thinking about an efficient public policy, the positive externalities for society must be arguably greater than the destruction of value for the individual. In Brazil today, we see an unprecedented health crisis, but the respect for consumer choice and freedom prevails, even under the new reality that COVID-19 imposed on us. People are already suffering great losses in their personal and professional lives with the disease, the government should not impose another burden on society.”

Fred Roeder, Health Economist and Managing Director of the Consumer Choice Center, concludes: “We have at least six times as many COVID19 cases here in the UK compared to South Africa, but there was fortunately never a time where I was not allowed to buy vaping liquids or cigarettes in my local grocery store. Given the limitations, we experience during the lockdown, it would be even more difficult if the government would ban me from buying nicotine. South Africa’s approach towards nicotine and alcohol sales is an unparalleled overreach of government power in times of global lockdowns”.

Originally published here.


The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Johannesburg, Brasilia, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Narcos 3.0: Mexico declares War on Vaping and repeats old prohibitionists mistakes

When Mexico’s far-left President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (or short AMLO) ran for office in 2018, he and his platform promised an end to the decade-long war on drugs in Mexico. He acknowledged that prohibitionist policies cause more harm than they do good. Ironically that same President issued a surprise presidential decree on February 19 banning the import of e-cigarettes, vapes, and heated tobacco products. The order even forbids the import of nicotine-free vaping liquids.

AMLO declared the War on Vaping

The Presidential decree relies heavily on scare tactics, invoking the U.S. “vaping crisis” to justify Mexico’s ban. But even the U.S. CDC and AMLO’s decree concede the “vaping crisis” was actually caused by illicit black market vaping liquids. Pushing Mexican vapers to the black market will exactly cause what the order claims it is trying to prevent: more lung diseases.

Even before this decree, Mexico had opaque vaping regulations, that had to be clarified by a supreme court ruling and allowed at least certain manufacturers to sell e-cigarettes to the country’s roughly 1.2 million vapers.

These vapers are now being left alone with no access to nicotine products that are less harmful than conventional cigarettes, and that in times of lockdowns and people spending most of their week at home thanks to COVID. Two scenarios are most likely to happen if the decree does not get annulled:

  • Narcos 3.0: Mexico has a well developed black market for illicit substances, and, as regular Netflix viewers know, it serves as a massive transit hub for the global drug trade. It wouldn’t take much for organized crime to either smuggle legal vaping products from neighboring countries into Mexico and sell them on the black market or (even more concerning) sell counterfeited vaping liquids to Mexican vapers. The vaping crisis in the United States, which the Presidential decree instrumentalizes for its ban, was caused by illicit black market vaping liquids. Pushing Mexican vapers to the black market will exactly cause what the order tried to prevent: More lung diseases. 
  • Back to the ciggie: Even is the more dramatic scenario of a booming vaping black market might not come true (mainly due to the low margins on nicotine products compared to Cannabis or Cocaine), we would still see over a million vapers left behind. It is more likely that most of them will switch back to smoking regular cigarettes instead of switching to nicotine patches or entirely quit. That, in turn, would also lead to worse public health outputs.

We can see that AMLO’s decree will have serious, negative unintended consequences contrary to its own objectives.

Perhaps the most concerning is that the World Health Organization lauded Mexico’s vaping ban as a public health achievement, it fails to recognize that Mexico’s anti-vape stance will keep smokers and nicotine consumers locked in with combustible cigarettes. This policy deprives them of the choice to switch to the 95% less harmful vapes. The Consumer Choice Center’s interactive vaping map shows that up to 3.3 million additional Mexican smokers could switch to vaping if the government would emulate the UK’s progressive and science-based vaping laws.

Better vaping policies could help millions of Mexicans

So instead of cracking further down on vaping, Mexico should embrace tobacco harm reduction. Due to COVID and the parliamentary schedule, the Mexican Congress is currently out of session. Still, there is a window for legislative action when Congress returns to operation in the fall.

Consumer groups, vaping advocates, and the scientific community need to use this window of opportunity to explain more Mexican politicians and regulators the benefits of vaping and help busting myths around the United States’ vaping crisis. Initial protests against this misguided decree started already in March. This multi-lingual paper on the Myths and Facts on Vaping, written by my colleagues Yael Ossowski and Bill Wirtz explains the reasons behind the perceived vaping crisis in the US and is also available in Spanish. Probably an essential message in this paper for politicians is this one:

MYTH #3: VAPING IS THE CAUSE OF RECENTLY REPORTED RESPIRATORY ILLNESSES

Much cause for concern of late has been a flurry of reports of illness and hospitalizations blamed on traditional vaping devices and liquids. The CDC has reported nearly 380 cases of lung illnesses related to vaping. Sensational headlines and opinion articles have convinced leaders in several states and even President Donald Trump to consider banning vaping flavors outright.

But careful analysis of the reported cases reveals that a vast majority of the patients with symptoms were found to have used illicit vape cartridges mixed with the cannabis compound THC. 

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine that examined cases in Illinois and Wisconsin found that 84% of hospitalized patients report using illicit THC vaping cartridges prior to their illness. No illnesses have yet been tied to store-bought vaping pods or liquids containing nicotine.

To that end, two Wisconsin brothers were recently arrested in connection with a multi-million dollar operation that mixed various chemicals (including Vitamin E) with THC in cartridges meant for vaping devices, which they then sold illegally. Authorities have identified this large scheme spread across much of the Midwest as a culprit in the recent lung illnesses there.

What this reveals is that illicit vaping products sold on black markets, rather than licensed retailers, have actually caused the most severe of the lung illnesses reported in the media. 

As such, a ban on regulated devices and liquids, whether with flavors or not, would not address the problem as it currently exists.

By pushing vaping into the black market and Mexican vapers going back to the cigarette, AMLO will (despite the thunderous applause from the World Health Organization) further weaken Mexico’s public health outputs. If he is passionate about fighting lung diseases he should make access to legal and safe ways of consuming nicotine easier and not harder. Everything else is just a stimulus program for organized crime and lung specialists.

Alberta’s new vape laws will discourage smokers from making the switch

For every vape pod not purchased, 6.2 extra packs of cigarettes were purchased instead.

Alberta’s new vaping regulations are a huge step backwards for harm reduction, and ultimately public health. This week, Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced that Alberta – in an attempt to curb youth vaping – will move to regulate vaping in the same manner as cigarettes, which includes age restrictions, restrictions on where consumers can vape, where advertising can be displayed, and possibly a ban on flavours.

It should be clearly said that vaping products are harm reduction tools for adult smokers, and that curbing youth access is a noble and worthy cause. That said, beyond the age restriction, Alberta’s approach to vaping is bad public policy.

First off, the provincial government has now shown that it is incapable of regulating based on the risk associated with a product. We know from credible public health agencies like Public Health England that vaping is at least 95 per cent less harmful than smoking. Because of that, vaping should be regulated in a different manner, one that recognizes the continuum of risk. Regulating vaping like smoking is problematic because it sends the wrong signal to adult smokers, primarily that vaping and smoking are of equivalent harm. By sending this false message to consumers, it can be expected that fewer smokers will make the switch to vaping, which is a net negative for public health, society at large, and more importantly, adults who are trying to quit cigarettes or consume nicotine in a less harmful way.

Take in store displays for example. In Alberta, cigarettes are purchased (mostly) at convenience stores where they are behind a screen so that products cannot be seen. Unfortunately, Alberta’s new regulations apply that same restriction to vaping products. Allowing for modest forms of in-store display will help prompt and inform adult smokers that reduced risk products exist, and will increase the likelihood of them making the switch. In order to encourage smokers to make the switch they have to know that these products exist, and the best way for them to acquire that information is at the point of sale where they traditionally purchase cigarettes. By placing all vaping products out of view, they will largely be out of mind for the 15.8 per cent of Albertans who currently smoke.

The same goes for the prospect of a flavour ban, which Alberta is now paving the way for with its new regulations. A ban on flavours, while done under the banner of curbing youth access and use, would hurt adult ex-smokers the most. Harm reduction research on the usage patterns of adult vapers – who were former smokers – shows that the availability of flavours is a significant factor in their decision to switch from smoking to vaping. In evaluating the purchases of over 20,000 American adults who vape, researchersconcluded that prohibiting non-tobacco flavoured vapes would significantly discourage smokers from switching.

While these arguments may seem like hypotheticals to some, figures from the UK have shown us in real time, the impact a harm reduction approach has on smoking cessation. The United Kingdom is arguably the leader in embracing vaping as a harm reduction tool and as a means to steer adults away from smoking. So much so that over1.5 million people in the UK have completely switched from smoking to vaping. In addition to that, 1.3 million people in the UK used vaping as a means to quit smoking, and no longer vape or smoke. Because of the UK’s harm reduction approach, 2.8 million British have switched away from cigarettes, or quit altogether.

These regulations are further compounded by Alberta’s misguided 20 per cent vape tax, which further discourages smokers from switching. Supporters of the tax will argue that an increase in the price of vape devices will reduce the amount of people who vape. This is true, however it also has the consequence of increasing the amount of people who smoke cigarettes.  Research from theNational Bureau of Economic Research, evaluating 35,000 retailers, showed that every 10 per cent increase in vaping price resulted in a 11 per cent increase in cigarette purchases. In terms of product sales, this means that for every vape pod not purchased, 6.2 extra packs of cigarettes were purchased instead. This is exactly the opposite of what public health officials should be encouraging via public policy.

While youth vaping is a problem – and one that needs to be addressed – it is important that the government doesn’t sacrifice adult smokers trying to switch or quit in the process. Regulating vaping like cigarettes ultimately means that more Albertans will continue to smoke, which certainly isn’t anything worth celebrating.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

NEWSUCP brings in new law aimed at vapers and smokers

The UCP government is cracking down on smoking and vaping after consulting with more than 10,000 Albertans.

Bill 19, the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Amendment Act, follows a review of the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act led by MLA Jeremy Nixon in response to the increase in vaping, smoking and tobacco use in Alberta. 

Alberta is the only province without vaping legislation.

Teen vaping rates (used in past 30 days) surged from eight per cent in 2014-15 to 22 per cent in 2016-17 and to 30 per cent in 2018-19 (Grades 10-12).

“The proposed act specifically addresses youth vaping, and would add enforceable restrictions on the possession, promotion, display, sale and use of these products, in alignment with tobacco laws. It would also include the expansion of smoke and vape-free areas, especially at places frequented by children and youth,” the government said in a release.

Albertans who smoke or vape also appear to be at higher risk of developing more severe symptoms if they contract COVID-19. The government didn’t provide any medical evidence to back up that statement.

The proposed new legislation says:

  • Minimum age for purchasing, possessing or using vaping products would align with tobacco products (18 years and older).
  • In convenience stores and gas stations, vaping displays, advertisements and promotion would need to align with tobacco restrictions.
  • Aligning places where vaping and tobacco products can not be used will reduce confusion for the public and law enforcement. New places where vaping and smoking will not be allowed include:
    • on hospital, school or child care properties
    • on playgrounds, sports or playing fields, skateboard or bicycle parks, public outdoor pools or splash pads, zoos and outdoor theatres
  • Restrictions on the locations of vaping product sales will align with tobacco restrictions, and include:
    • health facilities
    • public post-secondary institutions
    • stores where pharmacies are located
    • vending machines or temporary facilities
  • Alberta’s proposed legislation will establish the authority to consider restrictions on flavoured vape if it is not covered by potential federal legislation.

“This proposed legislation sends a strong message to youth, and anyone who thinks it is OK to supply them with vaping products – there will be fines for possession and consumption. Selling or giving these products to minors will have consequences. Reducing health harms by keeping vaping products out of the hands of youth is a priority for both me and this government, and it’s what Albertans asked us to do,” said Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

But the moves were slammed by David Clement, the North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center.

“Alberta’s regulations are a huge step backwards from the perspective of harm reduction. Simply put, regulating vaping on par with cigarettes shows that the government is incapable of regulating based on the risk of each product,” Clement told the Western Standard.

“We know, from credible health agencies like Public Health England, that vaping is 95 per cent less harmful than smoking, which is why the rules around vaping should not be as strict as cigarettes. More importantly, regulating vaping like smoking discourages adult smokers from making the switch and quitting cigarettes, which is a net negative for public health.”

Addiction to tobacco products is the leading cause of preventable illness, disability and death in Alberta and yet the prevalence of smoking in Alberta is second highest in Canada.

Health costs for Alberta as a result of the use of tobacco products are estimated at $6 billion over the next four years.

In 2018-19, 15.6 per cent of Albertans aged 18 or older indicated they smoked cigarettes daily or occasionally.

“We thank the Alberta government and the Minister of Health for introducing legislation to help curb the youth vaping epidemic. Effective vaping legislation will be aligned with existing tobacco legislation to the greatest extent possible in order to provide maximum protection for youth. The Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act has contributed to achieving the lowest smoking rates among adults and youth on record in Alberta,” said “Les Hagen, executive director, Action on Smoking & Health.

In October, Nixon was tasked by Shandro with reviewing Alberta’s smoking and vaping laws.

“Thank you to everyone who participated in our consultations, wrote in, or completed our survey. Your insights and solutions were truly inspiring. Bill 19 reflects the feedback we received and ensures that we are taking the right steps to protect our youth from both the known and yet-to-be-known harms of vaping,” said Nixon

In February, the government put a 20 per cent tax on vaping products.

“This legislation is long overdue and serves as an additional deterrent to limit young people’s access to harmful vaping products. School boards across Alberta welcome additional restrictions that will keep our children safer and healthier at school and in their communities,” said Lorrie Jess, president, Alberta School Boards’ Association.

According to Budget 2020, the goal of the tax is to discourage usage, especially among youth who will hopefully see the increased cost as a deterrent from either picking up or maintaining their vaping habits.

Alberta will became the fourth province in Canada to tax vaping products, along with with Nova Scotia, B.C. and Saskatchewan.

Officials have said every 10 per cent hike in the price of tobacco, researchers have noted an eight to 12 per cent decrease in use among youth.

The government expects the new tax will not only discourage youth vaping, but also net the province $4 million in 2020-21 and a total of $8 million by 2022-23.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

EU countries to propose excise tax for e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products

EU member states will ask the European Commission this week to place novel tobacco products, electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products under the EU Tobacco Excise Directive, meaning they would be taxed just like traditional tobacco products, according to draft Council conclusions seen by EURACTIV.com.

“The current provisions of Directive 2011/64/EU have become less effective, as they are either no longer sufficient or too narrow to address current and future challenges, concerning some products, such as liquids for e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products and other types of next-generation products, which are entering the market,” the draft conclusions read.

“It is therefore urgent and necessary to upgrade the EU regulatory framework, in order to tackle current and future challenges in respect of the functioning of the internal market by harmonising definitions and tax treatment of novel products (such as liquids for e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products), including products, whether or not containing nicotine, that substitute tobacco, in order to avoid legal uncertainty and regulatory disparities in the EU,” the conclusions add.

The Council Conclusions are expected to be endorsed tomorrow (27 May) at a COREPER II meeting.

EU member states also ask the EU executive to present a legislative proposal to the Council, with the objective of “resolving, as appropriate, the concerns set out in these conclusions”.

Although novel tobacco products are regulated under the Tobacco Product Directive focusing on the health aspect, there is currently no EU-wide excise framework as there is for traditional tobacco products.

The situation in the EU single market is quite fragmented, as some member states tax e-liquids and heated tobacco products at different rates while others do not tax them at all.

In January 2018, the lack of sufficient data prompted the European Commission not to propose a harmonised approach for excise taxation of e-cigarettes and other novel tobacco products until further information about these products was available.

However, in February 2020, the executive published a report suggesting that for recent and new products, the lack of harmonisation is a source of concern from the internal market perspective.

“On the market side, developments have accelerated within new e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products and a new generation of modern products are coming into the market (containing nicotine or cannabis),” the report read.

“The current lack of harmonisation of the tax regulatory framework for these products is also restricting the possibility to monitor their market development and control their movements,” it added.

The tobacco industry says novel tobacco products and electronic cigarettes have significantly reduced health risks compared to traditional smoking and should therefore be treated accordingly.

On the other hand, EU policymakers insist that they are still harmful, albeit, perhaps, a little less than cigarettes, and all these years have adopted a cautious approach.

The next challenge will now be the pressure that the tobacco industry is expected to put on national governments in order to get the lowest excise tax possible.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Larangan jualan rokok semasa PKP kukuhkan pasaran gelap

KUALA LUMPUR – Mengehadkan akses kepada tembakau semasa Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan (PKP) telah mendorong kebanyakan pengguna beralih kepada pasaran gelap, menurut kaji selidik.

Ia merupakan dapatan daripada kaji selidik yang dijalankan oleh Populus sebuah firma perunding peneraju di dalam kaji selidik dan strateg dan merupakan penasihat kepada beberapa syarikat terkemuka, badan awam dan jenama di United Kingdom.

Menurut kajian itu, lapan daripada setiap 10 orang dewasa Malaysia (80%) bersetuju bahawa jika penjualan tembakau dilarang semasa tempoh PKP, orang ramai akan melanggar larangan tersebut demi untuk mendapatkan produk itu.

Hampir tiga per empat responden (72%, dan 78% perokok) pula bersetuju orang ramai akan terus membeli produk tembakau, tetapi jualan akan beralih kepada pasaran gelap/haram.

Menurutnya, tidak memeranjatkan apabila kebanyakan rakyat Malaysia (58%) beranggapan larangan tersebut akan menggalakkan orang berhenti merokok.

Namun, lebih ramai lagi (71%) bersetuju bahawa larangan itu meningkatkan penularan koronavirus menerusi penjualan produk haram yang tidak mempunyai piawaian keselamatan di dalam pengedaran.

Fred Roeder, Pengarah Urusan Consumer Choice Center berkata, berdasarkan kajian yang dibuat jelas menunjukkan orang ramai akan terus merokok dan berkemungkinan berusaha lebih lagi untuk mencari bekalan alternatif apabila rokok mereka sudah habis.

Di bawah langkah-langkah PKP, melakukan pergerakan tidak penting meletakkan nyawa di dalam bahaya kerana menambah risiko kontak dan penyebaran Covid-19.

Di Malaysia, semasa PKP, rokok tidak tersenarai sebagai barangan penting dan tidak dibenar untuk diedarkan, sekali gus mengakibatkan lonjakan dalam perdagangan rokok haram, sebagaimana dinyatakan oleh pihak berkuasa berkaitan di dalam laporan-laporan berita terkini.

Consumer Choice Center (CCC) adalah firma yang terlibat dalam melaksanakan kaji selidik awam.

Majoriti besar responden kaji selidik (72%) juga bimbang iaitu memasukkan larangan penjualan tembakau sebagai sebahagian daripada langkah kawalan pergerakan, akan mengalih sumber penting dalam usaha memerangi Covid-19 disebabkan pertambahan kos dan masa penguatkuasaan:

”Inisiatif menggalakkan orang ramai supaya berhenti merokok semasa PKP adalah suatu niat yang murni, ia sebenarnya gagal. Sebaliknya, langkah itu memperkasa sindiket jenayah antara-negara dan fasilitator yang rasuah, sekali gus menguatkan lagi kehadiran rokok haram yang bersifat endemik di Malaysia,’’ tambah Roeder.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

In light of COVID-19, what does banning flavored vaping achieve?

The nation is focused on containing a virus of mass proportions and mitigating the disastrous economic consequences of lockdowns.

But that didn’t stop Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo from cheerily pushing his flavored vape ban in the state budget passed a few weeks ago in Albany.

This follows Cuomo’s September 2019 emergency ban on vaping flavors, excluding tobacco and menthol, later struck down by the State Supreme Court because the governor “exceeded” his authority.

Now passed by the State Legislature, the new measure prohibits the sale of tobacco and vaping products in pharmacies, bans online sales, and restricts vape shops from selling any vaping liquid but tobacco flavor.

Move over drug dealers, flavored vapes are the new hot product to sling on the streets.

At a time when New York’s hospitals are overburdened with coronavirus patients, is this really the time for a ban that effectively creates a novel black market for unregulated flavored vaping products?

Demand for flavored vapes by responsible adults, the majority of whom are former smokers trying to consume nicotine in a less harmful way, may disappear from storefronts, but it’ll easily be replaced and sourced by street dealers with a new customer base.

The governor and his allies claim the measure was necessary to prevent teen vaping and lung illnesses, but that’s false on two counts.

First, this measure punishes adult smokers who’ve found alternative products to protect kids who seek out risky products — as they’ve always done. Mind you, the state hates flavored vapes, won’t dare touch alcohol ice cream cones, and is considering legalizing cannabis in the next few months. The hypocrisy is blaring.

Shops selling vapes to kids were already breaking the law but not getting penalized. Rather than outsourcing the product to the black market — where dealers don’t ask for ID — we should implement harsher penalties on shops that sell to underage kids. Simple.

When it comes to lung illnesses caused by vaping, the CDC has repeatedly stated this was the result of illegal vape cartridges containing THC, not nicotine. This is like banning Bud Light in hopes of tackling the running of moonshine.

By banning nicotine vaping flavors, New York is inviting yet more bad actors to produce their own products, beyond the purview of regulations and safety. Could we see a new wave of lung illnesses due to these bootleg products already found on the street?

Perhaps the state would focus more on the very real pandemic it is facing rather than trying to crack down on products that responsible adult users depend on to quit smoking.

As late as February, Cuomo was lauding his anti-vaping efforts as “leading the nation in confronting this new and deadly epidemic.”

Little did he know he’d be consumed with a global pandemic of this magnitude just weeks later.

If you want to uphold public health, we must continue to fight for the legal production and sale of flavored vaping products.

Yaël Ossowski is deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center.

This article was originally published in Newsday

Rokok Elektronik, Kesehatan, dan Kebebasan Individu

by Haikal Kurniawan

Rokok elektronik, atau yang akrab disebut vape, saat ini merupakan produk yang sedang mendunia, termasuk di tanah air. Di Indonesia sendiri, menurut laporan dari CNBC Indonesia, ada sekitar 1 juta pengguna vape pada tahun 2019 lalu (CNBC Indonesia, 2019).

Bisnis rokok elektronik di Indonesia juga mampu meraup pendapatan yang besar, hingga 200 miliar sampai 300 miliar setiap bulannya (Mix.co.id). Omset yang besar ini juga berdampak pada cukai yang tinggi, hingga 700 miliar rupiah per November 2019 (Waspada.co.id, 2019).

Banyaknya pengguna vape di Indonesia ini menimbulkan kontroversi. Tidak sedikit pihak yang menentang produk tersebut, dan meminta kepada pemerintah untuk segera melarang peredaran vape. Salah satu penentangan tersebut datang dari Komisi Nasional (Komnas) Pengendalian Tembakau.

Melalui manager komunikasinya, Nina Samidi, Komnas Pengendalian Tembakau menghimbau kepada pemerintah untuk menarik seluruh produk rokok elektronik yang beredar di pasar Indonesia. Selain itu, Badan Pengawas Obat dan Makanan (BPOM) menyatakan bahwa vape merupakan produk yang berbahaya. (Media Indonesia, 2019).

Namun, apakah anggapan ini merupakan sesuatu yang tepat? Mari kita lihat faktanya terlebih dahulu.

Berdasarkan laporan dari organisasi Asosiasi Paru-Paru Amerika (American Lung Association), rokok konvensional, ketika dibakar, menghasilkan lebih dari 7.000 zat kimia. Dari 7.000 zat kimia tersebut, 69 diantaranya telah diidentifikasi sebagai penyebab kanker (American Lung Association, 2019).

Sementara, dua bahan yang paling umum yang digunakan oleh dalam bahan cair vape adalah propylene glycol (PG) dan vegetable glycerin (VG), yang digunakan untuk membuat uap dan perasa. Bahan-bahan ini merupakan sesuatu yang terbukti aman dan merupakan bahan yang umum digunakan di berbagai produk makanan dan minuman seperti soda, es krim, dan produk-produk berbahan dasar susu (Food and Drugs Administration, 2019).

Organisasi pemerhati kesehatan asal Britania Raya misalnya, Public Health England, pada tahun 2015 menyatakan bahwa rokok elektronik 95% lebih aman dibandingkan dengan rokok tembakau konvensional (Public Health England, 2015).  Hal yang sama juga dinyatakan oleh Kementerian Kesehatan New Zealand dan Kanada.

Keduanya menyatakan bahwa rokok elektronik jauh lebih aman daripada rokok konvensional, dan merupakan salah satu solusi terbaik untuk membantu perokok untuk berhenti merokok. Kementerian Kesehatan Kanada misalnya, menyatakan bahwa rokok elektronik jauh lebih aman daripada rokok tembakau konvensional, karena tidak melalui proses pembakaran yang mengeluarkan zat-zat berbahaya yang membuat kanker (Health Canada, 2018).

Lantas bagaimana dengan berbagai kasus kematian yang terjadi di berbagai tempat karena penggunaan vape. Bukankah hal tersebut merupakan bukti bahwa rokok elektronik merupakan sesuatu yang berbahaya?

Di Amerika Serikat misalnya, per Februari 2020, lembaga kesehatan Pemerintah Amerika, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mencatat setidaknya ada 2.800 kasus orang-orang yang dibawa ke rumah sakit karena penggunaan rokok elektronik (CDC, 2020). Adanya kasus tersebut juga merupakan penyebab utama Presiden Donald Trump mengeluarkan peraturan pelarangan produk vape yang memiliki rasa selain menthol dan original, pada bulan Januari 2020 lalu.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Tobacco plain packaging policies have been chasing their own tail

Since 2012, many countries have outlawed branding on tobacco products, and yet more are considering taking this step. One of the most recent examples comes from Ukraine, where a group of parliamentarians have pledged to follow the Australian example of banning all brands by plain packaging as a means of reducing smoking rates. But do such policies actually achieve their desired outcomes?

Regardless of noble motives in place, the failures of plain packaging are numerous and evident. In 2012, Australia passed a nation-wide plain packaging decree. The goal was to reduce smoking rates. During the first years of the ban, more young people started to smoke. The smoking rates among Australians in the age range of 12-24-year-olds increased from 12 per cent in 2012 to 16 per cent in 2013. Little or no improvement was made among people aged 30 or older between 2013 and 2016. People aged 40–49 continued to be the age group most likely to smoke daily (16.9%) and the smoking rates among this age group went up from 16.2% in 2013. At the same time, Australia has seen an enormous increase in roll-your-own cigarettes: 26% in 2007, to 33% in 2013 and to 36% in 2016. 

Plain packaging, like taxation, is intended to push consumers away from particular products considered by governments to be harmful, unhealthy and detrimental to the wellbeing of society. What policymakers tend to overlook, though, is that demand for cigarettes is inelastic and thus neither taxes nor branding bans can substantially affect consumer behaviour. From this perspective, plain packaging coupled with extensive bans on cigarette advertising as a policy solution is useless. Do we really care about the branding of sugar or salt? We buy them anyway.

Smoking has no substitutes per se, but thanks to innovation there are healthier ways to consume nicotine. Vaping has been proven to be 95% less harmful than smoking and has been endorsed by international health bodies as a safer alternative. Public Health England, New Zealand Ministry of Health and Health Canada have all endorsed vaping for encouraging smokers to switch. 

Governments that try to outlaw smoking and consumer groups such as the Consumer Choice Center have a shared goal: to uphold public health. We are lucky to live at a time when innovative solutions have made it possible for us to find healthier smoking alternatives. Instead of making futile attempts to fight smoking with taxes and plain packaging, we should create conditions under which smokers can opt for vaping and are encouraged to do so through advertising.

Tobacco plain packaging policies have been chasing their own tail. They simply don’t work and end up becoming another ambitious yet flawed policy that sounds great on paper but doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Міфи та факти про куріння електронних сигарет: що варто знати урядовцям

Минулого місяця у Верховній Раді було одержано законопроект про внесення змін до деяких законів України щодо охорони здоров’я населення від шкідливого впливу тютюну. Головною новелою якого є регулювання електронних цигарок, зокрема пропозиції заборонити продаж неповнолітнім, заборонити рекламу, спонсорство та стимулювання продажу електронних сигарет, врегулювати маркування упаковок електронних сигарет та заправних контейнерів, заборонити ароматизатори. Та, перш ніж вдаватись до таких заходів, варто задатись питанням: що ж нам власне відомо про електронні сигарети з наукових досліджень та досвідів інших країн? 

Як альтернатива звичайним сигаретам, вейпінг або куріння електронних сигарет, завдають організму менше шкоди від споживання нікотину, алкалоїд-стимулятору, від якого власне курці залежні. Споживач вдихає нагріту нікотинову суміш та видихає водяну пару.

Хоч неймовірний потенціал нікотинових приладів був визнаний багатьма органами охорони здоров’я, за останній період з’явились докази зв’язку захворювань дихальних шляхів з вейпінгом. Як результат, в суспільстві виникло суперечливе ставлення до електронних сигарет, а уряди декількох країн й зовсім їх заборонили.

У даній статті я спробувала спростувати міфи про вейпінг, представити наукові медичні факти та запропонувати рекомендації для покращення здоров’я суспільства та зменшення побічних ефектів куріння.

Рекомендації:

  • Забезпечити суворі вікові обмеження щодо заборонених девайсів та продуктів у торгових точках
  • Ознайомити школярів про вплив нікотину на мозок підлітків
  • Не забороняти вейпінг продукти як законні засоби для зменшення шкоди серед дорослих курців
  • Вейп ароматизатори — це сфера особистої відповідальності дорослих споживачів, і вони повинні залишатися законними

МІФ №1: ВЕЙПІНГ БІЛЬШ ШКІДЛИВИЙ НІЖ КУРІННЯ 

При спалюванні традиційні сигарети утворюють понад 7000 хімічних речовин, 69 з яких мають бути визначені як потенційні канцерогени. Натомість вейпінг-пристрої містять абсолютно інші інгредієнти.

Два основних інгредієнта, що містяться у рідинах з вейпором, — це пропіленгліколь (PG) та рослинний гліцерин (VG). Обидва використовуються для утворення пари та додавання їй аромату. Пізніше до цих компонентів додається третій, яким зазвичай є звичайний харчовий ароматизатор, що входить до складу багатьох кондитерських виробів, олії та інших продуктів. Вони допомагають надати вейп рідині специфічний смак. 

Всі перераховані вище сполуки є поширеними харчовими інгредієнтами, які органи управління вважають здоровими та безпечними, в тому числі Управління з санітарного нагляду за якістю харчових продуктів та медикаментів (США).

Іншим змінним інгредієнтом вейп рідини є нікотин — стимулятор алкалоїд. Хоча не всі рідини містять цю додаткову хімічну речовину, саме вона притягує курців, які хочуть позбутись шкідливої звички. У порівнянні з іншими засобами, які допомагають кинути курити, у тому числі нікотиновими пластирами та власне лікарськими засобами, куріння електронних сигарет було визнано найбільш ефективним.

Найвищий орган охорони здоров’я Великобританії, Public Health England, неодноразово говорив, що вейпінг та електронні сигарети є на 95 відсотків менше шкідливі, ніж куріння.

Такого ж висновку дотримується Міністерства охорони здоров’я Нової Зеландії та Канади, які розпочали громадські ініціативи, що пропонують курцям перейти на вейпи.

МІФ №2: КРИЗА КУРІННЯ СЕРЕД ПІДЛІТКІВ

За статистикою менше 14% дорослих американців курять, що є найменшим зареєстрованим показником в історії. Аналогічно, кількість курців серед підлітків залишається найнижчою.

Стосовно куріння електронних сигарет, інші цифри Центру з контролю та профілактики захворювань в США (CDC) показують, що 20,8% старшокласників у США вейпили принаймні раз протягом останніх 30 днів. Але майже половина з них використовували канабіс, куплений на чорному ринку, а не нікотин.

Це, безумовно, проблема  яка потребує вирішення, але не криза, як її оцінюють посадові особи органів охорони здоров’я. І враховуючи, що ніяких даних про вейпінг не було зібрано до 2015 року, нова інформація не є переконливим доказом кризи.

Ми не можемо ігнорувати проблему вейпінгу серед підлітків, і будь-яке підвищення його рівня поширеності має викликати занепокоєння. Однак позбавляти мільйони дорослих курців можливості перейти на альтернативну, яка є надійною, теж неправильно. 

МІФ №3: ВЕЙПІНГ — ПРИЧИНА НЕЩОДАВНО ЗАРЕЄСТРОВАНИХ РЕСПІРАТОРНИХ ЗАХВОРЮВАНЬ

Вейп девайси та рідини часто пов’язують з  причинами різних захворювань що призводять до госпіталізації. CDC повідомив про майже 380 випадків захворювань легень викликані курінням електронних сигарет. Сенсаційні заголовки та статті переконали лідерів у декількох штатах і навіть президента Дональда Трампа розглянути можливість заборони смакових домішок.

Але ретельний аналіз зареєстрованих випадків показує, що переважна більшість пацієнтів із симптомами використовували незаконні картриджі з вейпом, змішані із сполукою канабісу THC.

У дослідженні New England Journal of Medicine, яке розглядало випадки в Іллінойсі та Вісконсіні, було встановлено, що 84% госпіталізованих пацієнтів повідомляють про використання незаконних картриджів THC до виявлення хвороби.

Жодні хвороби ще не були прив’язані до куплених у магазині вейпових пристроїв або рідин, що містять нікотин.

Нещодавно у штаті Вісконсин, двоє братів були заарештовані у зв’язку з багатомільйонною операцією, в ході якої вони змішували різні хімічні речовини (включаючи вітамін Е) з ТНС у картриджах, призначених для електронних сигарет та потім незаконно продавали. Цю схему визнали причиною поширення захворювання легенів на більшій частині середнього заходу США.

Це свідчить про те, що незаконна вейпінг-продукція, що продається на чорних ринках, а не ліцензована роздрібна торгівля, насправді спричинила найважчі захворювання легень, про які повідомлялося в ЗМІ.

Таким чином, заборона на регульовані пристрої та рідини, будь то ароматизатори чи ні, не вирішить проблему респіраторних захворювань.

МІФ №4: ОБМЕЖЕННЯ ВЕЙПІНГ АРОМАТІВ ЩО ВИКОРИСТОВУЮТЬСЯ НЕПОВНОЛІТНІМИ

У відповідь на повідомлення про хвороби та госпіталізації, які ЗМІ пов’язують з електронними цигарками, політики закликали негайно заборонити ароматизовані вейпінг-продукти. Першим таким штатом став Мічиган.

Основною метою цих запропонованих заборон є захист неповнолітніх, яких нібито вабить безліч ароматів електронних сигарет. Але з огляду на те, що всі неповнолітні, які використовують вейп продукти, беруть їх на чорному ринку, зрозуміло, що найбільш негативний вплив заборони матимуть на відповідальних дорослих людей, які віддають перевагу цим смакам.

Легальний і врегульований ринок — найкращий метод усунення шкідливих продуктів та суб’єктів. Заборона на ароматизатори приведе тих, хто хоче вживати ароматизовані вейпінг продукти на чорний ринок або змусить повернутися до традиційних сигарет. Останні дослідження показали, що якщо електронні сигарети заборонені, їх споживачі швидше повернуться до куріння, що у свою чергу несе загрозу охороні здоров’я.

Найкращим стримуючим фактом боротьби з вейпінгом серед неповнолітніх є застосування жорстких вікових обмежень на продаж, подібних до алкоголю та тютюнових виробів, а також пропаганда в школах негативного впливу нікотину на здоров’я підлітків.

Криміналізація продуктів, доступних для дорослих, призведе до більшої шкоди як серед них, так і серед неповнолітніх, розвиваючи при цьому чорний ринок.

Заборона вей-ароматизаторів зашкодить відповідальним дорослим споживачам, які їх використовують/ щоб позбутись звички палити. Курці електронних сигарет, які не матимуть права придбати вейпінг продукти, почнуть шукати способи використовувати неврегульовані та заборонені товари, що будуть більш небезпечними, ніж існуючі, доступні в магазинах.

На противагу сенсаційним повідомленням у ЗМІ, дорослі, які використовують вейпінг та електронні сигарети як спосіб кинути палити, значно покращують свої шанси на довге, здорове та продуктивне життя.

Інновації в зменшенні шкоди в останні роки призвели до того, що вироби з вейпінгу та електронних сигарет демонструють менше побічних ефектів, ніж традиційні сигарети.

У той же час, підвищене використання цих продуктів підлітками викликає занепокоєння, але вирішення проблеми шляхом заборони цієї продукції для відповідальних дорослих колишніх курців не є панацеєю.

Давайте виконувати чинні закони. Майже половина магазинів з тютюном не вимагає пред’явлення паспорту від молодих клієнтів. Це підсилює проблему і налаштовує громадськість проти вейпінгу серед дорослих, який, як було показано, є способом покращення здоров’я населення.

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