The Government of Panama has taken another stand against tobacco harm reduction (THR) and refused a proposal to regulate the reduced risk nicotine delivery products.
In March, the Panamanian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association together with members of the public, presented a proposal which would have amended Law 315 of June 30, 2022, and regulated vaping products, making them available as a safer alternative for the 170,000 current Panamanian smokers.
Sadly, the proposal was rejected by the Technical Secretariat of Economic Affairs, who issued a negative report about the products. The document said that the nation should continue with the strategy set by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and reject the use of the products as smoking cessation tools. A stance certainly enforced by the fact that this year’s COP10 will be held in Panama.
Panama City banned vaping on beaches
Last year, Panama City Beach officials agreed to ban the use of cigarettes and vaping products on the city’s beaches, clearly making no distinction between the two products. Passed by the House in February 2022 and the Senate in March, the bill was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in June 24th, became law on July 1st.
Discussing these recent events, Michael Landl, director of the World Vapers’ Alliance, said that Panama keeps on refusing to look at the science in favour of the products. He said that instead Panama should follow the example of countries which have successfully reduced smoking rates by embracing tobacco harm reduction “..such as the United Kingdom or Sweden, which is about to become the first tobacco-free country in the world, instead of copying the failure of Argentina and Mexico.”