IN the absence of vaping legislation in Trinidad and Tobago, local vape retailers are calling for proper regulations.
Daren Narine, owner of Premium Vapes in San Fernando, is leading the call as it relates to importing and proper use of vaping products.
He wants to ensure such products are made available to the public in the safest way possible, as many vapers belong to the 18-40 age group.
There is consensus among vaping retailers across the country on the need for regulations, including putting age limits on buying and using of products; industry reporting; manufacturing standards; product and package labelling, such as health warnings; banning the use of certain ingredients and flavours; and promoting products.
Narine said legislation should be drafted based on TT’s own experiences and not follow the mandate set by other countries.
“We can use other countries' understanding and research as a base, like the US or the UK, but ultimately our legislation should be reflective of our own society so we will not have to revise or amend it three years down the line,” he said in a statement.
Narine also recommended that the government look at developing a separate act for vaping, other than the Tobacco Act.
“Tobacco is the leaf you use for cigarettes, but the vaping industry uses liquid – which uses some vegetables and food flavouring. Every day, there are new e-liquids which are being introduced that need to be regularised. There are companies that do not have (US) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval and need to be monitored.”
Observing there are entrepreneurs who are bringing substandard products directly from foreign countries, Narine said this is yet another reason local industry standards need to be improved.
“All imports should meet a standard of quality control in order for the products to be sold here. Once vaping products pass through the FDA, there is a shelf life of two years, and vaping juices can expire. This further supports the need for control.”
“This call for regulation is not because vaping liquids are specifically harmful, but because all industries have regulations, and this one should be no different, to ensure consumer safety,” he said.
Vaping is inhaling and exhaling vapour containing nicotine and non-nicotine/or flavouring produced by a vape device. It is generally regarded as less harmful than smoking because it delivers nicotine by heating a liquid in a much less harmful way. Vaping is also considered cheaper than smoking. It can give the user a similar effect.
Medical professionals agree vaping exposes the user to fewer toxicants than smoking tobacco cigarettes. It is also used to ease the transition from traditional cigarettes to not smoking at all.
Michael Blaha, director of clinical research at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, says regular tobacco cigarettes contain 7,000 chemicals, and while the chemicals in some e-cigarettes cannot be verified, he stays there is “no doubt that they expose you to fewer toxic chemicals than traditional cigarettes.”