Calls Mount For E-Cigarettes Ban, Claims That Vaping Bill ‘Does Not Go Far Enough’
September 23, 2019
Cape Town - Calls are mounting for a ban on e-cigarettes after several deaths in the US were attributed to vaping, and after India banning the selling, producing, importing, or advertising of e-cigarettes.
The national government’s proposed Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems Bill seeks to regulate e-cigarettes in the same way as traditional cigarettes.
If passed into law, the bill seeks to control the sale and advertising of e-cigarettes, to provide standards for their manufacture and export and - most importantly for the anti-smoking lobby - to prohibit their sale to and by persons under the age of 18.
But medical expert Tony Westwood, head of the General and Community Paediatrics School of Child and Adolescent Health at the Faculty of Health Sciences at UCT, said the bill didn’t go far enough.
“We worry that e-cigarettes are a nicotine delivery device and should only be used, if at all, as prescribed medication to assist nicotine addicts.
“While they may seem very cool, especially to young people, they’re actually very cruel,” said Westwood.
He said young people could be easily lured into vaping addiction as e-cigarettes contained nicotine, which had been proven to permanently change the structure of young brains.
Westwood said that while the government bill sought to regulate e-cigarettes, South Africa should go a few steps further and “stop it in its tracks”.
“These e-cigarettes are not regulated and have no health warnings, they’re just like ice-cream.”
Lucy Balona, head of marketing and communication at the Cancer Association of SA, said: “The safety of e-cigarettes has not yet been scientifically shown. Testing has highlighted that e-cigarettes vary widely in the amount of nicotine and other chemicals they deliver, and this is not communicated to buyers.”
In his maiden Budget speech in February, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni proposed a tax on vaping.
“The National Treasury and the Department of Health will consult on the appropriate mechanisms, structure and timing of the tax,” said Mboweni.
However the tobacco companies have come out swinging against any talk of closer regulation or even a ban.
Johnny Moloto, head of External Affairs at British American Tobacco Southern Africa, said: “Preventing the development of a market for these products would deny smokers the possibility of benefiting from these advanced vaping technologies.
“There are many studies that indicate that products such as e-cigarettes can be an effective tool for smokers looking for an alternative to reduce or quit smoking,” said Moloto.
Councillor Zahid Badroodien, Mayco member for Community Services and Health, said the City had noted the changes to legislation with regards to e-cigarettes elsewhere in the world and acknowledged the risk they posed.
“The draft legislation, which is to be imminently promulgated, places the same restrictions on e-cigarettes that it does on tobacco products. If these restrictions are published in the final act, then the City will continue its enforcement role,” said Badroodien.