Kazakhstan’s Lower House passes amendment enforcing ban on vapes

Kazakhstan’s Lower House makes a decisive move by adopting an amendment to enforce a ban on vapes, signaling a proactive stance on public health concerns and regulatory measures. The amendment reflects the government’s commitment to address emerging challenges associated with vaping within the country.

Kazakhstan’s Lower House of Parliament has approved a health-related bill that will prohibit the import and sale of vaping products. The move comes as the government steps up efforts to address the growing public health concerns associated with vaping.

The recently passed legislation imposed penalties for violators, ranging from arrest to imprisonment, indicating a strong commitment to reducing the distribution and use of vaping devices in the country.

The bill, which garnered overwhelming support with 92 MPs voting in favour and only one abstention, reflects the collective determination to address the undeniable health risks posed by vaping. These risks have been underlined by the Ministry of Health since 2021, which has been actively advocating for measures to restrict the circulation of vaping products.

Under the new legislation, the consequences of breaching the vaping ban are severe. Individuals caught selling vapes could face arrest for up to 50 days, while those involved in the import and distribution of these products may be subject to imprisonment for up to two years. Further, individuals engaged in distribution as part of a criminal group or on an especially large scale could potentially face imprisonment of up to five years.

The government’s decisive move towards a complete vaping ban was initially announced by the Respublica parliamentary party in July 2023. MP Nurgul Tau, one of the bill’s authors, emphasized the incontrovertible harm associated with vaping, underscoring the urgency with which the Ministry of Health has sought to address the issue.

Despite the government’s proactive stance, concerns have been raised by entrepreneurs who fear that a ban on the sale of vapes could lead to an upsurge in black-market activity. The Ministry of Finance, however, has reported a staggering 300-fold increase in the turnover of vaping products in Kazakhstan from 2020 to 2022, highlighting the urgency and necessity of the vaping ban.

This legislative move not only underscores the commitment to safeguarding public health but also acknowledges the challenges posed by potential black-market activities resulting from the prohibition. As Kazakhstan takes a bold stand against the rising tide of vaping, the nation navigates the delicate balance between enforcing strict measures and addressing the evolving landscape of the tobacco and vaping industries.