Gov’t lauded on decision to ban e-cigarettes in public spaces
Thu, 02/02/2017 - 12:00am
The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) has congratulated the Government of Barbados, for its “timely decision”, to ban e-cigarette use in public spaces.
In the HCC’s latest news roundup for this month, the Coalition admits that “studies about e-cigarettes and smoking behaviour show conflicting results”. Whilst e-cigarettes were shown to be mildly helpful in kicking the habit in one clinical trial, the HCC points out that in other studies, e-cigarette use did not increase quit rates, or was even associated with a higher risk of continuing to smoke.
“The bottom line is that they are harmful and the use of e-cigarettes among youth, is growing in the Caribbean,” the HCC is however quick to point out.
Meanwhile the Coalition pointed to Jamaica’s Public Health Tobacco Control Regulations, which also banned the use of e-cigarettes in public places. Because e-cigarettes contain nicotine, the Government of Jamaica moved to regulate e-cigarettes under Food and Drug Act, which means a permit has to be sought to import e-cigarettes. The Suriname Government has gone even further by banning the importation and sale of e-cigarettes, the HCC noted.
Meanwhile, here in Barbados, it was recently announced that smoking of e-cigarettes in public places, as well as the sale of the product to minors, is now forbidden, a move that has received the HCC’s nod of approval.
The ban came about as the House of Assembly approved amendments to the Health Services Act, which will also ensure that electronic devices, namely e-cigarettes, are subject to the same controls and health warnings on packaging, as regular cigarettes. Minister of Health, John Boyce, indicated that the matter of electronic smoking devices was not spoken to directly in the 2010 amendment, which banned smoking in public places. Hence the new move. E-cigarettes have meanwhile been readily available in Barbados over the last four years, and are sold in many convenience stores and services stations. (RSM)