Seychelles is legalising the use of electronic cigarettes with a new regulation that will classify alternative nicotine products under the tobacco control law following the approval by the Cabinet of Ministers.
Bharathi Viswanathan, the programme manager in the unit for the Prevention and Control of Cardiovascular Diseases at the Seychelles Hospital, told SNA that currently all alternative nicotine products are banned in Seychelles.
Under the new regulations, alternative nicotine delivery systems (ANDS) will be classified as tobacco products so that all provisions in the Seychelles tobacco control law will extend to their manufacture, distribution, sale and use.
Alternative nicotine delivery systems are designed to provide nicotine without the harmful substances contains in cigarette smoke. They include vaporisers, digital, electronic or e-cigarettes. Unlike traditional cigarettes, these products do not produce a combustible smoke nor do they contain tar, a by-product of burning tobacco. Instead, they contain a small battery that converts a liquid from small cartridges into a water-based mist, which is expelled as vapor or aerosol.
The management of the Spar shop on Eden Island informed SNA that the creation of this regulation is good news for business because they had expressed the desire to sell such alternative products on the Seychelles market in the past.
We were already in touch with a company in South Africa called Twisp, which sells e-cigarettes so we will definitely be interested in selling these here, the management said.
The Spar on Eden Island has a section dedicated to selling rolling paper and other tobacco-related products which are legal in Seychelles.
One regular smoker, Steve Mondon, who has also tried e-cigarettes when travelling outside Seychelles, said that it would make things easier for smokers who prefer e-cigarettes as an alternative to cigarettes.
This avoids the hassle of having to get your refills and products when travelling, or the fear of being caught at the airport with something that is not regulated here, he told SNA. I’m sure it can be more convenient for travellers and tourists as well who travel with their own e-cigarettes but want to buy other flavours and refills during their stay, he added.
These products were not on the market when the Seychelles first Tobacco Control Act was drafted in 2009, said Viswanathan.
The fact that ANDS is now a new product it needs to be regulated.
She said that amending the regulation will ensure that a framework exists for consumers and sellers. Under this regulation sellers will need a proper licence.
Viswanathan added that the only difference expected between the traditional tobacco products and alternative nicotine products will be the labeling.
The warning labels will not be the same as those displayed on cigarette boxes, but that as the regulation is being developed, this will be decided in more detail, she said.
ANDs will also not be sold to minors.
According to a survey published in October 2016 by the Ministry of Health, up to 15 percent of youth aged 13-15 years smoked cigarettes the previous year, which is less than the 21.5 percent recorded in 2007.
Viswanathan confirmed that based on current statistics from the unit for Prevention and Control of Cardiovascular Disease, there is approximately 28.5 percent of regular male smokers, and between 7-8 percent of regular female smokers in Seychelles.
On the question, if it is worth it to have ANDS on the local market, Viswanathan said the product is a good option to help smokers who want to quit smoking.
It is a good way to help smokers quit the habit and it is also less detrimental to health as it contains less nicotine and other harmful substances found in real cigarettes. Additionally, regulations are required to ensure children do not have access to ANDS and to ensure importers follow regulations, she said.
Source: Seychelles News Agency