On June 14, Orda News reported that a petition against the “e-cigarette ban” has garnered 50,000 signatures and is now before the National Assembly for mandatory consideration by the government if the petition receives no less than 50,000 votes in favor. The petition’s initiator, Tatiana Fominova, has called on Kazakh citizens to revisit the ban on e-cigarettes, while the lower house of the country’s parliament is exploring the feasibility of “banning e-cigarettes.
Background and issues of the ban
Discussions about the ban on e-cigarettes continue to heat up in Kazakhstan, fueled by concerns about the sale of such products to minors. Kazakhstan’s law already prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18, but this law does not prevent the market from selling e-cigarettes to youth.
E-cigarettes are not yet certified, and the law does not provide for a ban on placement and public display.
Anton Shishkovsky, chairman of the Kazakhstan Electronic Cigarette Association, highlighted the problem of selling e-cigarettes to minors as a result of a lack of regulatory measures by sellers.
“Currently 70 to 80 percent of the e-cigarette market in Kazakhstan is in a gray area. This is mainly due to the lack of regulation, and inspections have been halted for three years. In the previous three years, there was some growth in e-cigarette sales.”
In addition to this, Dmitry Zhukov, president of the Qazspirits Association of Kazakhstan, expressed his dissatisfaction with the stance of the Ministry of Health and the anti-cigarette coalition.
“We have reported violations of the rules on the sale of e-cigarettes to the Ministry of Health and the Anti-Tobacco Coalition. But during this time, when the rules were violated and ignored, the Ministry of Health and the Anti-Tobacco Coalition did not provide any supervision to the authorities responsible for regulation.”
Regulations in place and calls for improvement
Proponents of the petition point out that Kazakhstan already has legal measures in place to prevent the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. The popularity of e-cigarettes among youth is largely due to the failure to effectively enforce existing regulations and the pause in regulating the market.
In addition to this, Article 110 of Kazakhstan’s Health and Medical Code prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.
Similarly, tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, are not allowed to be sold or publicly displayed at checkout counters.