Local public health researchers have called on the government to revive stalled legislation intended to regulate e-cigarettes, saying they are being heavily marketed to young people as a means to stop smoking, but do not help people kick the habit for good.
A Business Day report notes the Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill was approved by Cabinet and released for public comment in 2018, but has yet to be submitted to Parliament. The SA Treasury said last week that it planned to release a discussion paper on tax proposals for electronic nicotine devices.
Lekan Ayo-Yusuf, director of the Africa Centre for Tobacco Industry Monitoring and Policy Research at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, said local evidence was vital to counter claims made by the e-cigarette industry. Presenting recent research on e-cigarette use in South Africa, he said more than 95% of e-cigarette users continued to smoke and few of them managed to stop smoking for more than six months.
Compared to people who had never used e-cigarettes, the likelihood of kicking the smoking habit for 6-12 months was 77% lower among regular e-cigarette users. The research on e-cigarettes and smoking cessation in SA has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
“While the tobacco and e-cigarette industry likes to position e-cigarettes as cessation aids, the limited effectiveness of these products for long-term quitting, the health harms associated with usage, and the industry’s targeted marketing to youth are facts which are conveniently omitted from their narrative,” said Ayo-Yusuf.
A finding from one of the prevalence studies was that 2.71% of adults, or 1.09m people, used e-cigarettes daily or occasionally during 2018. Almost all of these people (97.5%) were regularly smoking cigarettes as well.
[link url="https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2021-03-01-researchers-renew-call-for-e-cigarette-regulation/"]Full Business Day report (Open access)[/link]
See also MedicalBrief archives:
[link url="https://www.medicalbrief.co.za/archives/calls-for-vaping-products-to-have-health-messages-and-separate-regulations/"]Calls for vaping products to have health messages – and separate regulations[/link]
[link url="https://www.medicalbrief.co.za/archives/what-proposed-tobacco-bill-means-for-vaping-in-south-africa/"]What proposed Tobacco Bill means for vaping in South Africa[/link]
[link url="https://www.medicalbrief.co.za/archives/vaping-reduces-inflammatory-biomarkers-compared-to-smoking-american-council-on-science-and-health/"]Vaping reduces inflammatory biomarkers compared to smoking – American Council on Science and Health[/link]
[link url="https://www.medicalbrief.co.za/archives/to-deliver-health-benefits-vaping-must-replace-smoking-american-heart-association/"]To deliver health benefits, vaping must replace smoking – American Heart Association[/link]