A complete abandonment of wipes in Kazakhstan will provoke, according to some experts, the growth of the shadow market.

December 6, 2023

Let us remind you that the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan and many deputies are in favor of a legislative ban on the sale, import, export and production of vapes. A corresponding bill is being considered in Parliament.

According to the Ministry of Health, in 2022, 17.6% of boys and 9.6% of girls had already smoked e-cigarettes. And these numbers are growing every year. The medical community is concerned about the content of vape juice. They generate high concentration aerosols that can damage the epithelium of the respiratory tract and cause tissue hypoxia. This was stated by the representative of the Ministry of Health Gulnar Sarsenbaeva. She was supported by the Chairman of the Board of the National Scientific Medical Center JSC Abai Baigenzhin, who added that according to the results of a study by the Sanitary and Epidemiological Service of Kazakhstan, there is 68–70 times more nicotine in smoking mixtures than in a regular cigarette. Therefore, according to him, such devices must be prohibited.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also spoke about the dangers of vaping at the second meeting of the national kurultai “Adiletti Kazakhstan – Adal Azamat” in Turkestan.

– Another scourge that threatens the health of the nation is the so-called vapes and various types of electronic cigarettes. Unfortunately, their use has become somewhat of a fashion among teenagers. This is facilitated by their wide availability and aggressive advertising about their supposed harmlessness. But in fact, young people are putting themselves in serious danger, because vapes themselves are harmful and there is only one step from them to real drugs. It is necessary to take urgent and systematic measures to combat this dangerous phenomenon; bans alone will not help the matter. The police need to improve the efficiency of their work in this direction. I will keep this issue under special control.

Indeed, bans alone cannot solve the problem. This position is shared by the Baytak green party, which held a special press conference in the capital. Party Chairman Azamatkhan Amirtayev noted that a complete ban on electronic cigarettes, on the contrary, could increase their smuggling.

– We advocate strict regulation of vapes on a par with tobacco and alcohol products. At the same time, we are categorically against the sale of vapes to people under 21,” said the head of the Green Party.

When asked how the party proposes to strictly regulate the sale of vapes, Azamatkhan Amirtayev noted that they are ready to conduct public control.

Chairman of the Association of Smoking Market Operators of Kazakhstan Malika Tskhai notes that entrepreneurs are ready to comply with the requirement to ban the sale of vapes to young people under 21 years of age. They agree, for example, to change packaging colors and flavors to make them less attractive to teenagers. And such products should be sold in specialized stores behind closed display cases. And buyers must have their documents checked for age compliance.

Malika Tskhai believes that from a total ban on vaping, the state will lose a significant portion of taxes, and many citizens working in this area will also lose their jobs. The association predicts that in 2024, the country’s budget will be replenished by 20 billion tenge due to the legal sale of vapes.

We also asked about certified vapes, which are more expensive than “gray” tubes. Will such a price difference become decisive in favor of the population choosing counterfeit products? They explained to us that the difference in price between factory and smuggled products is small. It is unclear what is in the smuggled device and where it was made. And this is a health issue. A certified product looks safer in this regard.