Vaping in South Africa; Latest News

A sneak peek on vaping in South Africa.

“Vaping Saved My Life” joins the global movement, and VPASA fights back against the proposed tobacco products control bill”.

2021 has been an important year for the vaping industry and its community. The proposed tobacco and electronic nicotine delivery systems are still pending approval. On the other side, the VPASA is fighting back to secure a brighter future for vapers.

Improved regulations & legislation on vaping in South Africa?

Vaping in South Africa

In February 2021, a state of the nation address highlighted the need for improved laws of fledgling. Particularly, under-represented industries, such as tourism and the electronic vapour sector. 

The Vapour Products Association of South Africa (VPASA) chief executive Asanda Gcoyi shared some light. He mentioned that we currently need to stand together and fight the socio-economic crisis in the country. 

Vapour products have grown to be largely misrepresented. There is bulk of public opinion being guided by sensationalist and inaccurate media reporting. 

Therefore, It is crucial that the correct information is carried over to the public.

At this point, countless of highly reputable research institutions across the globe are advising governments to harness the potential of EVPs as harm-reducing alternatives to smoking. 

Here are a few:

  • Public Health England (PHE)
  • The Royal College of Physicians
  • Cancer Research 
  • Action on Smoking and health

How does the tobacco bill impact vaping in South Africa?

Vaping in South Africa

The South African Government is currently working to fast-track final assessments to regulate and legislate ENDS under the same laws as smoking. As such, the vaping industry is alarmed at the false parallel that government officials and anti-tobacco activists are drawing between these very different products.

Firstly, the Vapour Products Association of South Africa (VPASA) has acted accordingly. It demanded that the government appropriately differentiate electronic vapour products (EVP’s) from combustible tobacco products. This must include a scientific proof that EVPs are much less harmful than combustible tobacco products.  

Secondly, the association added that if regulated correctly, EVP’s can significantly contribute to the reduction of harm associated with smoking. Thus, the very purpose for which our government seeks to tighten these regulations. 

Regulatory decisions should always be made on scientific fact, rather than ideological learnings, perception, or even worse, misinformation. In addition, it is no secret that EVPs have suffered under widespread misinformation by anti-tobacco activists and health authorities who deem EVP’s as equally dangerous to smoking. (Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence proving the contrary) 

Moreover, the VPASA advised the South African government to look at the UK as an example. They revealed that the UK is not anti-regulatory, as many wish to suggest. Rather, they stand for sensible, measured, and effective regulation, of which the UK seems to have found a workable model. 

Above all, the VPASA calls for appropriate and evidence-based policies that will enable consumers to make informed decisions about their choice of nicotine products. The bill, as it currently stands, does not run parallel with this objective.

WHO FCTC COP9: Dear Mr. President

The 9th Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) recently took place from 8 – 13 November. There were discussions regarding the development of Control of Tobacco Products, Electronic Nicotine, and Non-Nicotine Delivery System Bill.

A letter to the president on behalf of the vaping community expressed great concern around the pending regulations on electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). The bill aims to have all ENDS and ENNDS (electronic non-nicotine delivery systems) regulated under the same ferocity as traditional, combustible tobacco products. The bill does not in any sense differentiate between smoking and the use of ENDS.

This negative perspective around vaping stems mainly from misinformation provided by the department of health (DoH) and the National Council Against Smoking; the reason being the belief that using ENDS ultimately progresses to smoking, when in fact the reverse of this statement is true. (ENDS have been proved to help individuals to replace their smoking habits with something much healthier) 

The concern around imposing laws on vaping was supported by several scientific studies. Ultimately proving that vaping is up to 95% less harmful than smoking and is also the most effective long-term replacement for smokers. 

Furthermore, the letter to the president representing both the defending vaping industry & vaping community has described the pending control of tobacco products and nicotine delivery systems bill to be callous, a misrepresentation of these products, and a missed opportunity for our government and our economy to improve the health of its citizens. 

We trust that the president will stand up for smokers. We believe he will align our government’s position with credible scientific evidence on tobacco harm reduction.

Vaping Saved My Life” Joins Global Movement To Support Vaping And Beat Smoking

On 30 June 2021, Vaping Saved My Life (VSML) joined the global movement known as “Back Vaping. Beat Smoking”, coordinated by the World Vapers Alliance

With 2021 being of the most important years in vaping history. Such collaborations can surely assist in making South Africa’s voice and perspective on vaping clear during the 9th Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). 

We expect the leaders of VSML and the World Vapers Alliance to stand up for vaping and push back on further restrictions.

Who is VSML?

Vaping in South Africa

VSML is a respected consumer advocacy group in South Africa. Its purpose is to promote tobacco harm reduction through means of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

VSML owners, Kurt Yeo and Craig Stuart had been part of SA’s alarming smoking statistics pre-construction of their advocacy group. Both had been longtime legitimate smokers who found ENDS to be a way to escape the deadly habit of smoking. 

Quick fact: South Africa reports around 8 – 11 million smokers in the country. With about 42,000 annual deaths directly caused by harmful tobacco products!

Above all, following the heaps of negative press on vaping in 2017, the pair decided to do something about it. Therefore, the creation of the “Vaping Saved My Life” Facebook page came about. A place where ex-smokers (now vapers) could share their first-hand stories and experiences on how vaping has changed their lives. 

The focus of the page is to provide first-hand experiences of people in South Africa who decided to switch.

Significance of VSML joining a global movement

Vaping saved my life

Making the voices of South African vaping activists and vapers known, and calling for politicians to embrace vaping-friendly policies. 

Co-owner of VSML, Mr Kurt Yeo, commented on the launch of the campaign. “We are excited to join this global effort to eradicate smoking for good. We trust that vaping in South Africa can save more than 2 million lives. As long as the legislation follows the evidence and includes vaping as a crucial tool to fight to smoke.”

In conclusion, 2021 has been a vital year for the future of vaping and its ability to beat smoking. The director of the World Vapers Alliance, Mr Michael Landl shared some insights. He mentioned that having VSML as a partner means that they had an even stronger voice this year. He made it clear that South Africa supports vaping wants to beat smoking. 
Vaping is currently under threat, and we need to act now. Lastly, we only have a few months before global policymakers meet to discuss our rights. Join the “Back Vaping. Beat Smoking” initiative here!

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