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Friday, May 24, 2024

Costa Rica Bans Synthetic Nicotine in Vaping Products

Costa Rican authorities announced on Tuesday that they will “prohibit products containing synthetic nicotine” in the country, targeting that substance used in smoking containers for vaporizers and e-cigarettes. This resolution will prohibit the “sale, use, commercialization, advertising, promotion, and sponsorship of vaping liquids containing synthetic nicotine and cannabinoids,” indicated the Ministry of Health in a statement.

It will also affect products that “have incorporated cannabinoid-type liquids” because they “represent a health risk,” it added. The provision will be in effect while the government prepares a reform of the law that regulates this area and that type of device.

According to data from the portfolio, since 2021 a total of 3,170 people were treated in Costa Rican public health centers with “diagnoses related to vaping.” Of the total, 40% were registered in 2024.

In November 2023, the first case in Costa Rica of a 16-year-old person with a lung injury associated with the use of e-cigarettes after vaping for three months was confirmed.

The National Anti-Tobacco Network (Renata) reacted positively to the decision in a statement and highlighted that they “applaud” the government for the new regulation.

“Costa Rica could be on the verge of experiencing a next epidemic of vaping patients,” they argued. From the commerce side, they consider it an “injustice,” said Michael Araya, owner of the La Pegona chain of smokers’ stores.

“I’m totally frustrated,” he said. “A lot of people are going to be out of work, continuing in a smoke shop without selling smoking products doesn’t make sense, a very hard blow to all the investment,” Araya added.

On the street, vaporizer consumers like Vivian GarcĂ­a consider it “less harmful” than conventional tobacco, which is not prohibited. Non-smokers like Kasey Oporto are happy not to have to inhale the smoke that vapers release on public roads.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned in a December 2023 report that “urgent control measures for e-cigarettes are needed” as they “do not help to quit smoking and there is alarming evidence that they harm health.” “E-cigarettes with nicotine are harmful to health and highly addictive,” the WHO said in its report.

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