E -cigarettes not banned, Health Ministry says

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Ministry of Health today announced that there is no ban on e-cigarettes contrary to earlier reports.

On Monday the Jamaica Customs Agency said that it had halted the clearance of electronic cigarettes from the wharf under instructions from the health ministry.

However the Ministry is advising that the product, which contains nicotine, is not banned but requires registration and a permit to be imported into the island.

Acting Permanent Secretary, Dr Kevin Harvey said that under the Food and Drugs Act the regulation of the e-cigarette which contains a liquid, nicotine-filled replaceable cartridge is in keeping with the requirements for other nicotine products.

“Nicotine products such as gums and patches have always been registered in Jamaica and a permit issued before they can be imported.

“The Ministry does not presently have any requests or submission of information from any individual or company to register any e-cigarette product. It therefore means that there is currently no approval for importation of these products in the island,” he said.

Dr Harvey explained that over the past three years approximately four formal requests were made for permission to import e-cigarettes. However, the applicants failed to follow up their requests with the documentation required to process the applications.

“As the Minister of Health indicated, we are willing to have dialogue and work with any supplier which now has products at Customs or in the process of shipment to have the requisite registration completed and permit issued,” Dr Harvey said.

He assured that the Ministry of Health stands ready to register e-cigarettes once the appropriate documents are presented in keeping with standard practice and the requirements of the Food and Drugs Act.

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