Costa Rican lawmakers this week approved in a second debate a bill that will the use of ban vaping devices and electronic cigarettes in public spaces.
Project 21.658 was approved with 33 votes in favor and seven against. Seventeen deputies did not participate in the vote. The bill must still be signed into law and published in La Gaceta before it takes effect.
In addition to banning vaping in most public spaces, the bill also contemplates a tax on vaping devices and accessories.
The Health Ministry has endorsed this project, which was first introduced prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think this project is extremely important for the country. It has the full support of the Ministry of Health,” Salas said. “It is completely in line with the health alert we already issued regarding the use of vaping devices, where we have even been very clear that there is no study that can show e-cigarettes are a smoking cessation therapy.
“On the contrary, we have to disincentivize the use of cigarettes and the use of vaporizers.”
The taxes would be allocated to the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) and be earmarked for the treatment of diseases related to tobacco consumption.
“The use of these vaporizers or electronic cigarettes with or without nicotine represents a considerable health risk,” said Luis Aiza, one of the bill’s proponents.
Since 2012, Costa Rica also bans smoking in most public spaces. The comprehensive smoking reforms enacted that year forbids smoking in bars, restaurants, public buildings, casinos, bus stops and taxi stands. That has contributed to a decrease in tobacco use among Costa Ricans, authorities say.