Latest tobacco control and law workshop for Latin America focuses on new nicotine products

The ‘10th Workshop on Law and Tobacco Control for Latin America’ took place at the O’Neill Institute, Georgetown University, Washington DC, last week. The three-day event, 10-13 June, focused on new nicotine products. It was run collaboratively by The Union, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the O’Neill Institute.

Fifteen lawyers from 10 countries attended, representing both governmental and non-governmental sectors. Representatives from national regulatory agencies also attended from Brazil and Mexico.

Gustavo Sóñora, The Union’s legal advisor for tobacco control, ran a session analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the regulatory processes of Brazil and Mexico. And Mitch Zeller, director of the Center for Tobacco Products, at the US Food and Drug Administration presented on his organisation’s procedure for regulating new tobacco products.

“New nicotine products are a challenging area for government legislation because so many new products are being launched onto the market. This workshop was designed to inform and assist development of legislation with health protection and promotion as the top priority. As such, our primary recommendation is that countries apply the precautionary principle here”, said Sóñora. “Attendees also benefitted from the regional context and connections with peers from other countries who are facing the same challenges.”

E-cigarettes, heated-tobacco-products and other vaping devices are the subject of extensive public health debate. As yet, there is no long-term evidence on the health impacts of using such devices either on the user or those exposed to these chemicals second-hand. There is consensus within the public health community for bans on advertising and marketing campaigns that target children and young people.

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