QCOSTARICA – The use of vaporizers or vapers and electronic cigarettes is now prohibited in public places, as well as the sale of these devices to minors, after the approval in the second debate of the bill that regulates these devices and heated tobacco products.
The bill also sets a 20% tax on the sale of vapers and electronic cigarettes, which will be directed to the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) for the care of diseases related to tobacco consumption, explained Catalina Montero Gómez, promoter of the proposal along with Luis Antonio Aiza Campos.
According to the Liberationist legislator, the bill obtained final approval on Monday and is in the process of being sent to Casa Presidencial the signature of President Carlos Alvarado.
As all new laws, they have to be first published in the official newspaper La Gaceta to go into force.
“This bill was sent for consultation to the Constitutional Court, which did not find any problems of unconstitutionality. From there, it went ahead despite all the obstacles, because there are very strong commercial interests. Personally, I wanted to support it from a public health point of view.
“It has been shown that these devices induce minors to smoke and instead of solving a problem for those who have the habit, they rather complicate it. The Caja is the one that has to take care of the diseases caused by smoking, and they are extremely expensive treatments,” said legislator Montero.
The Red Nacional Antitabaco (Renata) – National Anti-Smoking Network – expressed its satisfaction with the approval of the law. Nydia Amador, president of that organization, assured that the new regulations will give substantial support to the Ley de Control de Tabaco (Tobacco Control Law).
“It is important to consider the vulnerability of all consumers of tobacco products, including electronic devices or vapers, to any disease of the respiratory system, since the first studies on the effects of the use of vaporizers and heated tobacco products show negative consequences for the lungs and the immune and cardiovascular systems,” said Amador.
According to Renata, in 2020 Costa Rica collected ¢27.18 billion colones from tobacco taxes. However, the cost of treating illnesses related to its consumption exceeds, annually, ¢300 billion.
According to Renata, vaping advocates tried to confuse public opinion by claiming that vaping is 95% less harmful than tobacco use.