Bans Bans Bans

Posted 13th February 2017 by Mawsley
Malaysia, Finland, Hawaii, Estonia, Slovenia and Barbados are rushing to join Thailand, Singapore, and Cambodia in effectively banning a safer form of using nicotine. But, as bans go, nothing compares to the punishment that could greet you if you attempt to vape in Uganda.

Thailand, Singapore, and Cambodia may have clung on to the limp reasoning given out by the World Health Organisation to justify their vape bans, but how many will be surprised when a documentary goes on to list officials who received money from tobacco or pharmaceutical companies?

Dr Mymoon Alias could win prizes for that name but she won’t life a trophy for consistency, honesty or accuracy either. In calling for a total ban on electronic cigarettes in Malaysia, she said: “The use of other nicotine products, including e-cigarettes is creating a new generation who are at risk of nicotine addiction and toxicity.”

Alias went on to list a whole number of ways children are being put at risk and, generally, bringing kids into the debate an awful lot. Odd, considering she thought children should be left out of political discussions in 2013. Maybe it’s because “Children are innocent and they tend to believe anything people say?”

And if you are going to tell whopping great porkies to children then why not go the whole hog: “nicotine also has an effect on the brain as a “gateway” drug for cocaine and other illicit drugs,” Alias adds in her demand for a vape clampdown.

Jeffrey Baxley points out: “five Malaysian states [are already] following the Malaysian Fatwa Council‘s advice that vaping is haram and should therefore be banned. According to Abdul Shukor Husin, the chairman of the Fatwa Council, ‘[Vaping] is detrimental to health... Islam forbids its followers from using things that can harm them directly or indirectly; immediately or gradually that can lead to death, damage the body, result in dangerous illnesses or harm the mind’.”

The story in Finland occupies a whole article to itself this week, but they aren’t the only European country striving to clamp down on a perceived vape menace. Estonia is acting to prevent “the spread of addiction and health damage” while harping on about an invisible and evidence-free gateway effect. The government’s actions, including raising the price of all tobacco products, mirror those in neighbouring Estonia and Slovenia. A spokesperson for the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations is reported as saying: “Any of the positive benefits and opportunities for risk reduction appear to have been summarily ignored.”

The reclassification of vaping as a tobacco product seems to make as much sense as reclassifying snakes as spiders because ‘they are both types of animals that most people do not like very much.’ But it happened in the States, it’s happening in Eastern Europe and it has taken place in Barbados so the government can justify its ban.

Meanwhile, in Uganda, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Tourism has gone on record as saying: “If tourists commit regular crimes, like shoplifting, theft, breaking in, causing bodily harm or worse, of course that is globally accepted to be a crime and must be prosecuted. But then we in Uganda have such issues like not permitting possession of electronic cigarettes which smoking tourists often bring with them. Then there are also other laws which are prohibiting things those visitors are used to from home. It is for their safety and for our reputation as a destination that we want government to clarify and provide written guidance.”

Yes, ‘for your safety’ the carrying of vape kit is banned. So, if you are enjoying your holiday so much that you’d like to stay – whip out a box mod. Transgressing the anti-tobacco law can end with a year spent in a Ugandan prison, but at least you’ll be able to buy cigarettes in there while waiting for your release!