The Ministry of Health is currently reviewing draft legislation aimed at regulating e-cigarette use. The amendment to the Health Services Legislation should be ready for consideration by next year.
This disclosure was made today by Health Minister John Boyce, as he addressed a Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO)/World Health Organisation (WHO) Sub-Regional Training Workshop on Tobacco Taxation for CARICOM Countries, held at PAHO headquarters at Dayrells Road, St. Michael.
He said that the decision to amend the legislation was taken in response to a recent WHO report, which highlighted evidence suggesting that exhaled e-cigarette aerosols increased the background air level of some toxicants, nicotine and particles. As a consequence, the WHO has advised that legal steps should be taken to end e-cigarette use indoors, in public and workplaces.
The Minister revealed that tobacco consumption in Barbados had decreased from 32 per cent in 1982 to 8.2 per cent in 2007, and preliminary results from the most recent survey completed in 2013 showed an even further decline.
He praised the efforts of pioneers such as Dr. Tony Gale and the Barbados Cancer Society, along with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the National Council on Substance Abuse, the National Committee for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Dependency, the National NCD Commission and faith-based organisations.
Their efforts, he maintained, were buttressed by Government policy which at an early stage saw the benefit of banning tobacco smoking in health care facilities and of restricting the advertisement of tobacco products on television to the late evening hours.
In 2010, the sale of tobacco products to minors was banned and regulations to prevent tobacco smoking in public places were implemented. Mr. Boyce noted that while no formal evaluation had been conducted, informal assessments indicated a high degree of compliance with both measures.
In respect of taxes on tobacco products, Minister Boyce said that since 2008, Government has used this type of intervention twice and he welcomed the opportunity to learn more about the WHO???s Tobacco Tax Simulation Model, which had proven useful in strengthening the technical and analytical capacity of taxation systems.
He stressed that the strengths and weaknesses of tobacco taxation would have to be monitored closely to determine their effectiveness in achieving policy objectives related to tobacco control.