The Costa Rican Legislative Plenary approved this Monday to apply a 20% tax on the sale and import of E-Cigarettes, their accessories and other complementary goods such as liquid for use, if it is of national production.
Through the bill to regulate Electronic Nicotine Administration Systems (SEAN) and Similar Systems without Nicotine (SSSN), the use of these devices will also be prohibited in places where smoking is not allowed, such as: work centers, schools, shopping centers, restaurants and hospitals.
The initiative was led by the official deputy Catalina Montero and the liberationist Luis Antonio Aiza, who celebrated the approval of the proposal mainly because, according to them, these devices have become an initiation mechanism for the consumption of nicotine.
“They are eye-catching devices for young people and are offered as a healthy alternative to tobacco; however, multiple investigations have determined their negative impacts on the health of people and entities such as the Ministry of Health and the CCSS have called for effective regulation”, said Montero.
The legislator Aiza recalled that the World Health Organization (WHO) called for governments to adopt laws that prevent the transformation of these devices into a door with which young people can start using tobacco.
National Anti-Tobacco Network
For the National Anti-Tobacco Network (RENATA), this project reinforces tobacco control policies that seek to protect public health and provide quality of life to Costa Ricans, especially children and youth.
According to Nydia Amador, president of the organization, it is a project that complements the Tobacco Control Law. “It is important to consider the vulnerability of consumers of all tobacco products, including vaporizers. The first studies on the effects of its use and of heated tobacco products show damaging effects on the lungs, as well as on the immune and cardiovascular systems,” she said.
Destination of the tax
Amador indicated that although the WHO recommends that tobacco products have a tax of at least 70%, “the approved item is a first step in the right direction.” The resources that come in through this tax will be destined to social security, which annually allocates ¢ 300,000 million to the medical care of smokers. In addition, smoking generates a cost of ¢ 75,000 million in informal care and ¢ 58,000 million in lost labor productivity. Regarding the money collected through the tobacco tax, in the last year Costa Rica received ¢ 27,185 million for this concept.