Argentina Limits “Heated Tobacco Products” and Promotes Smoking Cessation in the Population
Through Resolution 565/2023, published today in the Official Gazette, the Ministry of Health of the Nation indicates that the importation, distribution, commercialization, and advertising of “Heated Tobacco Products” (HTP) will no longer be allowed.
The measure aims to restrict the use of these types of products, which are considered harmful to health. In this way, the goal is to provide people with reliable information based on scientific evidence about the consequences of tobacco consumption in all its formats.
Heated Tobacco Products use an electrical device that heats a special cigarette containing reconstituted tobacco to a temperature that does not produce combustion. Although promoted as reduced-risk products, no independent study has demonstrated that they are harmless to health. On the contrary, some studies have shown that they contain many of the toxic substances found in regular cigarettes, in some cases in higher concentrations.
This initiative is part of a series of actions carried out by the National Directorate for the Comprehensive Approach to Non-Communicable Diseases (DNAIENT), as part of the fulfillment of the objectives of the National Tobacco Control Program (PNCT). The aim is to prevent the initiation of tobacco use, reduce consumption, protect the population from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, and promote smoking cessation in the population.
Tobacco consumption is one of the leading risk factors for non-communicable diseases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in developed countries, and also the most important cause of years of life lost and/or lived with a disability. In Argentina, it is estimated that 40,000 people die each year from this cause.
Tobacco is directly related to the onset of many diseases, primarily various types of cancer (lung, larynx, pharynx, kidney, liver, bladder, among others); cardiovascular diseases (heart attacks, strokes, aneurysms); respiratory diseases (chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease); and recurrent respiratory infections.
It is always possible to quit smoking, and with help, it is more likely to succeed. The Ministry of Health has developed various strategies to support people who want to quit smoking, which can be accessed from the following link https://www.argentina.gob.ar/salud/consumo-de-tabaco/como-dejar-de-fumar.
There are also Smoking Cessation Centers in Argentina, which have health teams trained to help people who have this addiction. https://www.argentina.gob.ar/salud/consumo-de-tabaco/como-dejar-de-fumar/centros-de-cesacion-tabaquica-en-la-argentina.
When people stop using tobacco, they obtain immediate and long-term health benefits. According to scientific evidence, within 20 minutes of quitting smoking, the heart rate and blood pressure decrease. In the following 12 hours, the level of carbon monoxide in the blood drops to normal values. After 2-12 weeks, blood circulation improves, and lung function increases. Between 1-9 months, coughing and difficulty breathing decrease, and in 1 year, the risk of coronary heart disease is 50% lower than that of a smoker.
After 5 years of quitting smoking, the risk of having a stroke decreases. In 10 years, the risk of lung cancer decreases to 50% of that of a smoker, and the risk of mouth, throat, esophageal, bladder, and pancreatic cancer also decreases. After 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker.
Promoting healthy eating habits, regular physical activity, limiting alcohol consumption, and avoiding tobacco substances prevent non-communicable diseases and promote a better life in the community. It is important to remember that tobacco control is a shared responsibility and that everyone can contribute to promoting a healthier environment.
In addition to the measures taken by the Ministry of Health, it is essential to raise awareness about the risks associated with tobacco consumption and the benefits of quitting smoking. This can be achieved through educational campaigns, support groups, and the involvement of health professionals in promoting smoking cessation.
It is also crucial to implement and enforce policies that regulate tobacco products, such as increasing taxes on tobacco products, banning smoking in public spaces, and prohibiting tobacco advertising and sponsorship.
By working together, we can achieve a tobacco-free future and promote a healthier and more sustainable society.