This new regulation which enjoys the support of the Tobacco Industry Advisory Council (TIAC) and was announced in the latest budget which took place last October, means that anyone who is caught smoking or vaping in a car with minors, will be charged a 50Euro fine. In a press conference Health Minister Chris Fearne also added that if someone who is smoking or vaping is a passenger in someone else’s car, both himself and the driver will be fined separately.
“Ideally, adults shouldn’t smoke anywhere where there are children around and indeed that’s what our awareness campaign will be focusing on,” the Health Minister said. “Canada had introduced a similar scheme though, and studies show that while it reduced the prevalence of smoking inside cars, it didn’t increase the prevalence of smoking at home.”
Different takes on e-cigarettes
Sale and use of vaping products in Malta is permitted, but e-cigarettes fall under the Tobacco Act, and are hence considered tobacco products. This means that they cannot be advertised, or used in enclosed public spaces, and they can only be used by adults over the age of 18.
Following a study published by the UK Royal College of Physicians, which found vaping to be at least 95% safer than smoking, Public Health England issued a report urging employers to support vapers at their places of employment, whilst allocating them with special spaces assigned specifically for vaping, so they are not forced to vape in smoking areas.
The attitude towards these products must change
Malta is a country well known for its lax attitude, especially in matters related to health prevention, and all parties involved agree that children should not be exposed to e-cigarette vapor, and most importantly to second hand smoke from cigarettes. However is it appropriate to put vaping products exactly on the same line of fire as regular cigarettes?
Vapers in Malta agree that “vaping is not smoking”, and that this distinction should be made clear. There are several studies which confirm that e-cigarettes are not the bad guy, but a striking one compiled by the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in the US, found that the switch to the electronic devices could mean a 20% percent gain in life years for smokers.