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Health Ministry clampdown on electronic cigarettes


Posted 03/03/2022

The Ministry of Health (Minsa) has reiterated that the sale of electronic cigarettes is prohibited at the national level and, in coordination with the security forces, vigilance is maintained so that this provision is complied with.

In the health regions of the country, there are environmental sanitation inspectors, in order to ensure compliance with the law and the agreement with the World Health Organization.

"Nicotine includes an alkaloid that produces addiction and in turn, a public health problem generating what is known as smoking," said Dr. Reina Roa, coordinator of the Minsa Tobacco Control Commission.

It was reiterated that sanctions such as temporary or permanent closures are applied to establishments that sell the products in Panama.

She added that studies show that electronic cigarettes release toxic substances in their vapor and that they could even contain those that are not present in conventional tobacco.

The Minsa recalled that there are 56 tobacco cessation clinics nationwide, which are available to those who seek help to quit smoking and where they will receive comprehensive care with specialists.


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Panama Prohibits Sales and Import of Vapes


On June 30, almost a year after Panama’s National Assembly passed legislation banning vape product sales, Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo gave his assent to the bill. The new law prohibits sales and importation of all vaping and heated tobacco products, with or without nicotine.

The law does not criminalize use, but bans vaping in any place where smoking is not allowed. The new law also prohibits internet purchases, and gives customs officials authority to inspect, detain and seize shipments. Resellers are allowed to import banned products meant for export to third countries, according to La Prensa.

President Cortizo vetoed a ban passed by the National Assembly in 2020, and then waited nearly a year to approve the 2021 bill. Panama had already prohibited e-cigarette sales in 2014 by executive decree.

Consumer vaping advocates at the Asociación por la Reducción de Daños del Tabaquismo de Panamá (ARDT Panamá) opposed passage of the bill last year, noting that it would push vapers to illegal black market products of questionable quality.

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