Mexico Bans Electronic Cigarettes and Targets Illegal Imports
Mexico has taken a hard-nosed approach to electronic cigarette, banning them completely across the country. This week, health authorities confiscated imports of over 9,000 ecigs marking the largest seized ecig shipment to date. Commissioner Alvaro Perez Vega of the Cofrepis Health Operation said that authorities are cracking down on ecigs because they view them as unsafe.
Vega insisted that there is no evidence to support the benefits of vaping. “They are products that have not been confirmed anywhere in the world to have the necessary safety, quality and effectiveness to replace the use of tobacco, but unfortunately people believe they are a viable means to stop smoking when no evidence for that exists,” he said.
However, it seems that Mexico has made a dreadful mistake in completely ignoring scientific research that would prove authorities are wrong in their assumptions about electronic cigarettes. While Vega claims that there are no confirmed sources to show that ecigs are effective for smoking cessation, there are actually multiple studies that address this common myth. In fact, scientists did a systematic review of six individual studies and two randomized trials and found that 18 percent of participants quit smoking after using an ecig for only six months. They also found that the availability of ecigs reduced how many cigarettes smokers were consuming daily.
Another study at the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Center for Survey Research found that smokers using ecigs were six times more likely to quit smoking than those making quit attempts with other methods. “Daily use of electronic cigarettes for at least one month was strongly associated with quitting smoking at follow up,” the scientists concluded.
Despite all the research to suggest that ecigs are actually a good move for public health, Mexico is continuing to wage war on ecigs. Last week, the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks shut down two businesses for selling vaping products. Over the past two years, authorities have seized more than 11,700 ecigs and vaping accessories that are “smuggled” into the country from China.
Does it surprise you to see authorities turn a blind eye to scientific research when they make policies about electronic cigarettes? How can we reverse this trend?