The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) in Ghana has expressed concern over the sale, advertisement, and recreational use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), including vapes and non-nicotine tobacco products.
In a press release, the FDA emphasized that vapes containing nicotine are highly addictive and can lead to serious health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, lung disease, infertility, diabetes, and gum disease. However, ENDS can be registered as a prescription-only medicine for the purposes of cessation therapy.
The FDA reminded the public that the sale and advertisement of ENDS, vapes, and non-nicotine products are in violation of the Public Health Act, 2012 (ACT 851), as well as Regulation 16 of the Tobacco Control Regulations 2016 (L.I. 2247).
Part Six and Sections 61 (2) and 62(1) of the Public Health Act, 2012 (ACT 851) as well as Regulation 16 of the Tobacco Control Regulations 2016, (L. I. 2247) state that:
Section 61 (2): A person shall not sell, display for sale, supply, advertise a non-tobacco product or service that contains, either on the product, or in an advertisement of the product, a writing, a picture, an image, graphics, message, or other matter that is commonly identified or associated with or is likely or intended or associated with a tobacco product, brand or manufacturer.
Section 62 (1) (b): A person shall not package, label or offer for sale a product that looks like or is likely to be identified with or associated with tobacco or a tobacco product.
Regulation 16 (1): “A person shall not manufacture, import, export, supply, possess, or offer for sale an illicit tobacco or a tobacco product”.
These regulations prohibit the sale, display, supply, or advertisement of non-tobacco products or services associated with tobacco products, brands, or manufacturers. Additionally, packaging, labelling, or offering products resembling tobacco or tobacco products is prohibited.
The FDA called on manufacturers, importers, wholesalers, and retailers to immediately remove all advertisements on social media, billboards, neon signs, and other platforms. They also cautioned against the importation of illicit tobacco products into the country.
Non-compliance with the tobacco control laws and the mentioned sections of the Public Health Act is considered an offense, subject to sanctions as stipulated by ACT 851. The FDA’s release further urged strict adherence to these regulations to ensure public health and safety.
Given the health risks associated with these products, the FDA strongly advised the public to refrain from using them unless for cessation therapy.