Earlier this month, the Department of Health of South Africa released a Draft Tobacco Bill for public comment. The bill in question proposes five main changes which are aimed at reducing local smoking rates. The first change would ban vaping and smoking within ten meters of a public building, a regulation aimed at making it harder for smokers and vapers to smoke and vape, and also protect non-smoking individuals from second-hand smoke.
Secondly, tobacco products would not be able to be displayed for sale, a regulation that not only entails hiding the products from customers’ sight but also requires that all cigarette packaging is plain. This also means that retailers of safer alternatives would not be able to market their products as such, hence leaving smokers in the dark about the proven effective smoking cessation tools.
Smoking and Vaping should not be regulated in the same way
However, in line with arguments by public health experts from around the world, co-founder of the Africa Harm Reduction Alliance Dr Kgosi Letlape rightly pointed out that vaping should not be banned. “In other markets like the UK, vaping is considered to be useful and they are advocating for the e-cigarette to be prescribed by doctors to smokers who can’t quit,” rightly pointed out Letlape. In fact since promoting the devices as smoking cessation tools, the UK is renowned for boasting the second lowest smoking rates within Europe, and the lowest ever recorded locally.
New Study indicates that exhaled vapour does not contaminate the air
In the meantime, a new peer-reviewed study, has shown that exhaled e-vapour product particles are actually liquid droplets that evaporate within seconds. In line with what previous air samples have suggested, this seems to indicate that vaping has a minimal impact on indoor air quality.
The study entitled “Characterisation of the Spatial and Temporal Dispersion Differences between Exhaled e-cigarette mist and Cigarette Smoke,” was published in the renowned journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research last week and carried out via a collaboration between Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania, EMPA (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology), ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) and Fontem Ventures.
“No accumulation of particles was registered in the room following subjects’ vaping. This shows us how fundamentally different exhaled e-vapour particles are compared to those released when smoking conventional cigarettes, the latter of which linger in the air for longer periods of time,” said senior study author Dr Grant O’Connell, who is the Corporate Affairs Manager at Fontem Ventures.
Read Further: City Press