Law passed in November makes the already illegal to sell or import devices, now forbidden to use even at home
Singapore is doubling down on their negative stance of e-cigarettes, with a total ban going into effect in the coming months. Vaporizers are already illegal to import or distribute in the southeastern Asian country, but the new law will outlaw them across the nation, even in private residences. But many users claim that this will only lead to increased smoking rates, as they’re no longer able to use the safer and cheaper e-cigarettes.
Bans like these create a tremendous amount of tension for users who see the change as a positive one for their health and wallets. Many former smokers who have switched to vaping have come to understand e-cigarettes as vital to their success. This belief has been shown to have a statistical foundation along with the anecdotal evidence, with the University of Louisville recently publishing work showing vaping is more efficient than any other smoking cessation method, including prescription drugs. As more of this type of research proving the relative safety of e-cigarettes is published, other traditionally harsh countries are starting to reconsider their stance. But unfortunately, Singapore seems to be heading in the opposite direction.
Changing Of The Tide
While many Asian governments have tended to be more skeptical about the potential benefits of vaping compared with western nations, many are now starting to come around as reputable institutions begin to agree on their efficacy. Thailand, which instituted a similar ban about three years ago, is reported to be considering a partial repeal, citing increased evidence of their beneficial uses. Indonesia allows vaping but has a regulatory system that only allows businesses certified by the health ministry to sell e-cigarettes. Not just that, but they require that these shops are meeting the standards set by the national government.
This is not to imply that these countries are leading the charge on vaping rights, with many of them still treating vaping as little more than an alternative version of cigarettes. But regardless many of these places are moving in the right direction as the often cloudy picture of the risks of vaping is becoming more evident. This is in stark contrast to what Singapore is attempting with their newest law. The Secretary for Health of Singapore, Amrin Amin said they were looking to “denormalize” tobacco use, as they consider vaping a gateway to smoking. This fear has been shown to be unfounded, with studies showing the overwhelming majority of vapers had previously been smokers.
While Singapore is not alone in demonizing e-cigarettes, they are in the minority when it comes to governments that aren’t coming around to the science. Even in some of the most strict vaping countries, there is some talk about reform on the horizon. But Singapore is doubling down on their stance in the face of mounting research. They’ve decided to side with Big Tobacco, and actively suppress safer alternatives like vaping and heat-not-burn devices. Their best reason for implementing harsher bans is the desire to reduce the number of smokers, but yet they don’t seem to be discussing any further limits on smoking itself. So regardless of their intentions, the result is a distinct advantage for Big Tobacco, as all the people who have, or would have, chosen to make a less dangerous choice are forced back to combustible cigarettes. This new ban is simply a travesty that will only lead to much more death that it could possibly prevent.
Do you think it’s fair for Singapore to ban vaping throughout the country? Why do you think they’re doubling down while others are coming around to the science? What can we do to prevent more bans like this from being passed around the globe? Let us know what you think in the comments.