Regulating the sale of “vapes” and electronic cigarettes does not mean releasing access to these products in an unrestricted and uncontrolled way. In fact, the lack of regulation has been pointed out precisely as one of the drivers of the parallel market, especially in Brazil, given the undeniable high demand for these items among its adult smokers.
According to a recent survey by the Ipec Intelligence Institute, the market for electronic smoking devices (EDS) quadrupled in size in the country between 2018 and 2021. During this period, there was a jump from 500,000 to more than 2 million users of these products. However, they all need to turn to the illegal market if they want to access them.
The debate led by Anvisa around the possible controlled release of “vapes” and electronic cigarettes in Brazil should not only take into account alleged risks such as introducing non-smokers to smoking or encouraging a relapse among those trying to quit. It is very important to think of regulation as a safer and potentially less harmful solution for millions of adult smokers who are looking for a legal alternative to the traditional nicotine cigarette — an option that does not exist in the national territory today.
But before this discussion continues, it is necessary to clarify what it means to regulate a market and the purpose of this measure.
Among other definitions, it is a normative act that aims to guarantee the due application of the law and the necessary requirements for the safe and controlled commercialization of a product category. The objective is not to impose or restrict rights, but to organize the execution of a certain activity.
Regulation is also necessary even so that all restrictions and considerations on any product are taken into account when it becomes available to consumers. While seeking to build a free, competitive, informed, efficient and reliable market, which protects and harmonizes the interests of all parties involved (from manufacturers to users), it is essential to create the conditions to promote the safe development of the sector. —without losing sight of control over the sale and components of certain items.
In a practical view, it is the regulation that makes it difficult for people who are not part of your target audience to have access to “vapes” and electronic cigarettes. It is also the regulation that imposes minimum quality and safety requirements on the industry, both in the composition and in the form of distribution of these products.
The same goes for the possible elimination of certain items, such as certain flavors and aromas, as well as the imposition of alerts, recommendations and seals that guarantee the origin, origin and control over each merchandise.
In addition to fighting illegality, regulation is also a way to avoid a vacuum in the commitment of the public authorities with issues such as quality and safety – which is exactly what is happening in the country today. It cannot be denied that this is a real problem that further increases the risk to the health of more than 2 million Brazilians who still smoke and would like to exercise their free choice to legally use electronic devices.
Meanwhile, by not regulating this activity, Brazil goes against the grain of more than 80 countries, including developed nations such as the United States, Canada, England and Japan.
TRENDS / DEBATES
Articles published with subscription do not reflect the opinion of the newspaper. Its publication serves the purpose of stimulating the debate of Brazilian and world problems and of reflecting the different trends of contemporary thought.