Laos Government’s Intention to Categorize E-cigarettes as Addictive Substances Sparks Debate

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Laos is taking steps to classify e-cigarettes as addictive substances due to their increasing prevalence among the country’s youth.

According to a report by Xinhua News Agency on November 30th, the Laotian government plans to amend and supplement certain provisions of the drug prevention and control law, including the inclusion of e-cigarettes in the list classified as addictive substances and precursors.

During the sixth regular session of the ninth Lao National Assembly, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Security Vilay Lakhamfong emphasized that e-cigarettes, which are one of the emerging issues of social concern, have not yet been included in Laos’ list of prohibited items. Therefore, e-cigarettes will soon be added to the list of products that include banned addictive substances and precursors.

The Ministry of Health of Laos expressed concern about the steadily increasing use of tobacco among young people, particularly e-cigarettes, which is becoming increasingly prevalent. The ministry warned that without timely measures to restrict it, the country will soon face a new wave of e-cigarette addiction, which is equally harmful as traditional tobacco.

This move comes in light of a report from the Ministry of Health of Laos in October, stating that tobacco-related diseases were the leading cause of death in the country in 2019, accounting for approximately 65% of all deaths. It is estimated that tobacco annually causes hundreds of thousands of chronic illnesses and results in the deaths of 6,700 people.

The decision to classify e-cigarettes as addictive substances aligns with efforts to address the growing public health concern posed by these products.
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