South African health researchers have called on the government to restore legislation aimed at regulating e-cigarettes, saying the product will not help people quit smoking as advertised, business daily reported.
The tobacco products and electronic delivery system control act was issued in 2018 for public consultation, but the legislation has not yet been submitted to Parliament. As a result, e-cigarettes and other nicotine containing products remain unregulated in South Africa.
Lekan Ayo Yusuf, director of the African tobacco industry monitoring and Policy Research Center at sefako Makgatho University of Health Sciences, introduced the latest research report on the use of e-cigarettes in South Africa. He said that more than 95% of e-cigarette users continue to smoke after they stop using e-cigarettes, and few of them can quit smoking for more than six months.
Compared with those who had never used e-cigarettes, the probability of changing smoking cessation habits within 6 to 12 months was 77% lower than that of ordinary e-cigarette users.
“Although the tobacco and e-cigarette industries like to position e-cigarettes as smoking cessation aids, the effectiveness of these products to help long-term smoking cessation is limited. It is a fact that the health hazards associated with use and the industry’s clear and targeted marketing to young people are the facts. It is a fact!” Ayo Yusuf said.
According to a prevalence study, 2.71% of adults (1.09 million) used e-cigarettes daily or occasionally during 2018. Almost all of them (97.5%) also smoke regularly. Another study found that vape shops are concentrated in richer areas of the city center, with two-thirds within a 20 kilometer radius of university or college campuses.
E-cigarettes have been listed in South Africa for more than 10 years, but they have not yet paid taxes. Recently, the Ministry of Finance said it plans to release a discussion paper on the tax proposal for electronic nicotine products.