BENDSTA calls for scrapping vape ban from draft tobacco control amendment bill

Bangladesh Electronic Nicotine Delivery System Traders Association (BENDSTA) has demanded for scrapping vape ban from draft Tobacco Control Amendment bill.
“The ban on vaping products will work against the Prime Minister’s vision of creating a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040,” said BENDSTA President Masud UZZaman at press conference at a city hotel on Monday.
He also placed three-point demands to the health ministry, including recognizing vaping as a “quitting tool” and separating it from tobacco products like cigarettes.
The proposed tobacco control bill incorporated ban on e-cigarettes or vapes, under which production, import, export, storage, sale and transportation of e-cigarettes or their parts will be prohibited.
The BENDSTA president said the proposal to ban vaping is a move that will take Bangladesh backwards and shows that the policymakers are not considering multiple credible evidences for vaping’s effectiveness in reducing cigarette smoking.
“Research by UK Health Security Agency (Public Health England) found that vaping is 95 per cent less harmful than cigarette smoking.It is surprising how policymakers can ignore such an important finding,” Zaman said.
“We believe vaping can help reduce smoking in Bangladesh. It should be regulated under specific guidelines so that it can play an important role in realizing the Prime Minister’s vision,” he said.
Governments of developed countries like the UK, EU countries, New Zealand and Canada, have recognized vaping as an effective tool for quitting smoking and their respective laws have made provisions of vaping instead of banning the product, he said.
Demanding for making a separate category for vaping, Zaman said, “Even, the FDA in the US has recently approved the marketing of vaping products.”
He also cited a report by the US-based Consumer Choice Center, which projected that, a staggering 6.2 million Bangladeshi smokers can potentially quit cigarette smoking if vaping is regulated and prescribed as a quit smoking tool.  Almost 4,000 vapers have signed a petition recently asking the government to recognize vaping as a smoking quitting tool, he added.
“We are aware of the harm of tobacco usage, and we also support controlling it. But including vape in the same category as cigarette smoking has surprised us. Tobacco use/cigarette smoking has no similarities with vaping, they are totally different,” he said. BENDSTA wants the health ministry to remove the ban on vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) from the draft amendment, as part of its three demands.