The Chilean Ministry of Health sent to Congress on Tuesday a bill on the electronic cigarette that imposes the same regulations on use and marketing that traditional tobacco currently has.
The project to regulate these devices, whose use has been widespread in Chile mainly among men, prohibits consumption in minors and their use in public places, restricts their advertising and forces their packaging to have warnings about the damage they generate to health.
"These devices will have the same standards as traditional cigarettes. They will be treated exactly the same," said Jaime Mañalich, Minister of Health, at a press conference.
The electronic cigarette allows the inhalation of liquids with nicotine and flavorings, and exposes the consumer to a smaller amount of toxins than the combustible cigarette. In many cases, it is used to replace the consumption of traditional tobacco.
The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report in Brazil two months ago in which it said that these vaporizers are "undoubtedly harmful" and should be regulated, but also advised against using them to quit smoking since there is no evidence on its effectiveness
"If they cause damage to health, they contain nickel, chromium and lead, and as a country we have to act to regulate these devices," said Paula Daza, deputy secretary of Public Health of Chile.
Every year the cigarette causes the death of eight million people, including smokers and passive smokers.
Although the number of smokers in the world has declined slightly since 2007, it is still very high, reaching 1,400 million, the vast majority of them men.
This article originally appeared at the France24 Website