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Singapore’s decision to ban e-cigarettes ruffles PMI

Singapore has announced a ban on e-cigarettes which will come into effect on15 December. Singapore will be the third country in the ASEAN region to do so, after Thailand and Cambodia. This ban will include smokeless cigars, cigarillos, dissolvable tobacco or nicotine products, or any substance containing tobacco or nicotine intended for use with an electronic nicotine delivery system.

PMI is grumbling because it reports to have invested US$2 billion in research and development of potentially reduced-risk products which it claims Singapore is not considering. The truth is, the evidence on smoking causing lung cancer came out over 50 years ago in 1964. However Philip Morris has continued to sell its harmful cancer causing cigarettes all these years – now selling US$30billion worth every year.

If PMI is not happy with Singapore’s ban on e-cigarettes, then surely that is a good sign that Singapore has indeed made the right decision. Singapore has one of the lowest smoking prevalence in the world through its comprehensive tobacco control measures which includes cessation programmes.

Proponents of e-cigarettes or so called “low-risk tobacco products” have been doing their rounds appealing to governments with all sorts of recommendations. The efficacy and safety of e-cigarettes have not been established.

For report on ‘E-cigarettes in Asia’ see: http://seatca.org/dmdocuments/SEATCA_Ecig%20Report_Final.pdf 

WHO report on Electronic nicotine delivery system: http://apps.who.int/gb/fctc/PDF/cop6/FCTC_COP6_10-en.pdf?ua=1