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Italian vaping news

Time: 2023-01-19

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Italy to ban vaping indoors

On Tuesday, Italian Health Minister Orazio Schillaci announced new measures targeting traditional cigarettes as well as novel tobacco and nicotine products at a hearing of the House of Representatives Social Affairs Committee.

Italy will introduce new anti-smoking measures to address the prevention and fight against smoking. The government wants to achieve the European Cancer Initiative's goal of creating a smoke-free generation.

The minister said: "Measures must be taken to ensure the maximum protection of the health of all citizens, which is a fundamental right of the individual and the interest of the community."

The ban on smoking in open spaces in the presence of minors and pregnant women will be extended, and smoking will no longer be permitted in enclosed spaces.

The minister said it was necessary to take into account the increasing proliferation of new products on the market and the mounting evidence that they may have harmful health effects.

To this end, the ban will also be extended to emissions from new products such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. There are also plans to extend the advertising ban that now applies to cigarettes to new products containing nicotine.

The minister explained that smoking remains the main cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in Italy, while the target set at EU level is to have less than 5% of the population smoking by 2040.

Almost a quarter of Italians are smokers, according to data from the "Italian Smoking Report" released on World No Tobacco Day 2022. There are about 800,000 more smokers than there were two years ago.

Smokers of heated tobacco cigarettes are also on the rise (3.3%) as of 2019, as a third (36.6%) believe they are less harmful than conventional cigarettes. Vaping users have also increased from 1.7% in 2019 to 2.4% today.

January 8 marks the 20th anniversary of Italy's Sirchia law, which first banned smoking in closed places open to the public. The law was proposed and vigorously advocated by the then Minister of Health Girolamo Silchia, and it took full effect in 2005, completely changing the customs and social etiquette of Italians.

The occasion came as former minister Sirchia called for greater government intervention to advance the anti-smoking agenda, especially in light of products invented by multinationals to differentiate themselves and win back the market, such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products.

According to data from the Ministry of Health for May 2022, it is estimated that over 93,000 people in Italy die from smoking every year, with direct and indirect losses of more than 26 billion euros. Smoking was responsible for 20.6% of deaths among men and 7.9% among deaths among women.

Minister Schillaci stressed that, in addition to supporting preventive and halting measures, it was considered necessary and strategic to ensure maximum support for the EU's actions.

In this sense, the Ministry intends to transform the European Commission's enabling directive, which provides for the removal of certain exemptions related to heated tobacco products by 23 July 2023.

Schillaci clarified that the process is designed so that different multiple interests related to tobacco products involving economic ministries do not override health protection.

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