Urgent legal decision for e-cigarettes needed

Amidst mounting health concerns, ongoing debates over whether to ban or pilot e-cigarettes remain deadlocked; therefore, the government should make legal decisions for new-generation tobacco products.

The rate of e-cigarette use among young Vietnamese people aged 13-17 increased from 2.6 percent in 2019 to 8.1 percent in 2023.

This legislative deadlock arises from a legal gray area surrounding these new-generation tobacco products. So far, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has not yet granted a business license for this product. However, e-cigarettes are still displayed in the market rampantly due to smuggling and carry-on. Worryingly, a survey of students in 11 provinces and cities in Vietnam shows that the rate of e-cigarette use among students aged 13-17 increased from 2.6 percent in 2019 to 8.1 percent in 2023.

Medical experts have long warned that with its high addictive potential and rapid spread in the community, e-cigarettes will create a new generation addicted to nicotine and other addictive substances such as drugs without effective preventative measures. At least 39 countries and territories around the world have completely banned this product.

According to Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Hong Dien, since the sixth session in November 2023, he has responded to questions on this content. He stated that the Ministry of Industry and Trade is consistent in its view that it is necessary to protect the health of Vietnamese people; hence, if the Ministry of Health affirms that e-cigarettes must be banned due to their health effects, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will support the early amendment of legal regulations; based on the legal law, the new generation tobacco products are not circulated in Vietnam.

E-cigarettes not only cause a new huge burden on healthcare, economy, and security and order but also affect the breed and many other fields. Currently, imported heated tobacco and e-cigarettes are still illicit in Vietnam. Therefore, this issue needs to be agreed upon by related ministries and sectors to submit for the Government’s final decision so that the National Assembly deputies don’t question again.

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