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The Royal Decree 579/2017, is the legislation pertaining to the manufacture, advertising and sale of vaping products in Spain that basically translates the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) into Spanish regulations, which has been effective since the 11th June 2017.

As a result of the above, in a few months’ time the sale of atomizers of over 2ml, and e-liquid containers of above 10ml, will be banned across the country. However this is not all, the Spanish government has prepared a new bill, which if implemented would prohibit the sale of all vaping related products online.

Why the online ban would be detrimental to public health

A number of pro-vaping and/or anti-smoking organizations, amongst which the NNA (New Nicotine Alliance) have spoken up and sent letters to the Spanish Health Ministry, pointing out why such a regulation would be harsh to public health.

“There is a scarcity of dedicated shops selling e-cigarettes in Spain so a ban on online sales will prevent smokers from buying e-cigarettes and will prevent the hundreds of thousands of existing vapers from continuing to use them to prevent relapse to smoking.”Gerry Stimson, Chair, NNA UK

“There is a scarcity of dedicated shops selling e-cigarettes in Spain so a ban on online sales will prevent smokers from buying e-cigarettes and will prevent the hundreds of thousands of existing vapers from continuing to use them to prevent relapse to smoking. Smokers and vapers may need to travel hundreds of kilometres to obtain their e-liquids and devices. However, cigarettes will still be available at every street corner shop so this will undoubtedly cause thousands of former smokers to relapse to smoking.” said the Chair of the NNA UK, Gerry Stimson.

“It is also likely that a large and entirely unregulated black market in vaping equipment and liquids will spring up, with the additional risks that will bring. This clearly makes no sense from a public health perspective.” added Stimson. The fear that vapers will turn to the black market in reply to expensive or unavailable products, is one that keeps reverberating in every country where harsh regulations are found.

Another country turning its back on harm reduction

“It is also likely that a large and entirely unregulated black market in vaping equipment and liquids will spring up, with the additional risks that will bring. This clearly makes no sense from a public health perspective.”Gerry Stimson, Chair, NNA UK

After the renowned study published last year by the Royal College of Physicians in the UK, which found vaping to be at least 95% safer than smoking, many public health experts around the world have been advocating for the use of e-cigarettes as harm reduction tools for smoking cessation. In the UK, where the products have been endorsed as such, latest data has shown that the country is reporting the lowest number of smokers ever recorded.