Mexico Bans Import of E-cigarettes… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Mexico Bans Import of E-cigarettes and Heated Tobacco Products to Protect Kids and Public Health

Statement of Patricia Sosa, Director, Latin American Programs, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
February 27, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – Mexico’s president has issued a decree banning the import and export of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products in order to help protect youth from the risk of nicotine addiction. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids applauds President Andrés Manuel López Obrador for taking action to protect public health.

The presidential decree, signed February 19, is a noteworthy step in Mexico’s tobacco control efforts to protect the next generation from becoming addicted to nicotine and tobacco products. E-cigarette use by youth presents serious concerns as the use of nicotine by youth in any form is unsafe, causes addiction and can harm adolescent brain development. Policy makers and regulatory agencies must take e-cigarettes seriously and act quickly to regulate them properly in order to prevent youth use and reduce tobacco consumption. 

Effective e-cigarette policies should:

  • Prevent use by non-smokers, particularly youth;
  • Minimize health risks to e-cigarette users and non-users;
  • Prevent e-cigarettes from undermining progress in reducing tobacco consumption and nicotine addiction;
  • Protect public health policy from the commercial interests of the tobacco and e-cigarette industries; and
  • Assist smokers to quit and avoid dual use.

To achieve these policy goals, regulators should either ban e-cigarettes altogether, regulate them as medicinal or therapeutic products only based on reliable independent scientific evidence, or strictly regulate them using tobacco control measures. For heated tobacco products, governments should consider either prohibiting them or regulating them (including the heating devices) the same as cigarettes, in line with their obligations under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

In the United States, e-cigarette use has soared to epidemic levels thanks to the marketing tactics of companies like Juul and the widespread availability of e-cigarette flavors like mango, mint and bubblegum. From social media influencers to celebrity endorsements, the marketing tactics for e-cigarette and heated tobacco products are straight from the playbook of Big Tobacco. These tactics are exposing an entirely new generation of youth to addictive products and threaten to undo decades of progress in curbing tobacco use.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids applauds President López Obrador for his decisive action to protect the youth of Mexico. We urge the government to continue fighting for additional tobacco control measures, like strengthening the General Tobacco Control Law, which will truly set the country on the path to becoming tobacco-free.