Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) intends to begin a public consultation on the regulation of e-cigarettes later this year, according to Brazilian media outlet Metrópoles.
Anvisa President Antonio BarraTorres revealed that the public consultation process is still in the formulation stage.
So far, Brazil has banned the sale, import and distribution of e-cigarettes, and those who fail to comply could face fines of up to 1.5 million reais (about 2.25 million yuan).
During the public consultation period, social and economic parties involved in the topic will have time to submit comments, opinions and criticism to the agency.
It is understood that the findings of the research institute Ipec show that the number of e-cigarette users in Brazil has grown from 500,000 to 2.2 million, and that in the capital, Brasilia, 4% of the population already uses e-cigarettes.
Because illegal products cannot be taxed, the Brazilian government loses 2.2 billion reais (about RMB 3.1 billion) annually, and the country thus misses 110,000 jobs.
Both British American Tobacco (BAT) and Filmore International have spoken out about e-cigarette regulation in Brazil, with Lauro Anhezini Jr, head of scientific and regulatory affairs for BAT Brazil, stating:
“If more harmful cigarettes can be sold legally, BAT cannot understand why e-cigarettes are banned in the country, where more than 80 countries have already regulated them (for e-cigarettes). It’s 95 percent less risky relative to traditional cigarettes.”
BAT said it already has plans to expand the facility there to accommodate e-cigarette production, which will initially use imported components for e-cigarette assembly; PMI representatives said that if Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency lifts the ban on e-cigarettes, heated non-combustible products, then PMI will intend to build a new facility in Rio Grande do Sul (a city in southern Brazil).