The Ministry of Health is openly lobbying for a cigarette manufacturer, arguing that devices would be less harmful for health
Tobacco control legislation will undergo further changes. The Ministry of Health launches public debates on a draft decision favoring the entering on the market of heated tobacco products, although such a notion is not regulated in the Tobacco Control Act.
Autor: Elena Cioina
14 decembrie, 2018, 11:18
The amendments are to modify
two sanitary regulations - one referring to notification and reporting
of information on tobacco products and tobacco-related products, and another -
on selling of unfermented and fermented tobacco, tobacco products and tobacco-related
products. In fact, the heat-not-burn tobacco products that have been strongly
promoted in Moldova in recent months, are the iQOS devices manufactured by
The document, according to the information note, is drafted by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Protection, which, among other things, expressly proposes that the market in Moldova should favor heated tobacco products.
Ministry of Health comes up with quite odd arguments on harm-reduction, with claims that "the possibility to introduce heat-not-burn tobacco products on the market of the Republic of Moldova and switch from smoking tobacco products to heat-not-burn tobacco products can help solve (in part) the health issues mentioned above."
In other words, the Ministry of Health suggests that regulating the heat-not-burn tobacco products would prevent a series of chronic diseases that are now caused by smoking conventional cigarettes. Among the diseases mentioned to be prevented by switching to heated tobacco products are cardiac and cerebrovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, destructive lung diseases, atherosclerosis, etc.
The Ministry of Health explains that, compared to conventional cigarettes producing smoke, which at the time of inhalation reaches the temperature of 900 degrees, heat-not-burn tobacco products heat the holders with compressed tobacco and releases vapor, which is deemed as a less harmful alternative for users.
the author of the document is officially the Ministry of Health, it seems that
its elaboration has taken place elsewhere. The person who would be empowered to
provide more explanations on the document is Andrei Svet, from the Legal
Department. As shown by Document Proprieties, the legal expert was only an
intermediary who sent the document to State Chancellery on December 6, when it
was registered for discussion at the session of the State Secretaries-General.
Although the author of the document is officially the Ministry of Health, it seems that its elaboration has taken place elsewhere. The person who would be empowered to provide more explanations on the document is Andrei Svet, from the Legal Department. As shown by Document Proprieties, the legal expert was only an intermediary who sent the document to State Chancellery on December 6, when it was registered for discussion at the session of the State Secretaries-General.
Andrei Svet opened the document once again a week later, on December 10, when it was placed on the www.particip.gov.md for public debates. It is not clear why this document was developed by the Legal Department of the Ministry of Health and not the Public Health Policy Department.
Asked by Sanatate INFO, Andrei Svet refused to answer the questions saying that he was not empowered to speak on the subject with the press, unless he received permission from the Ministry’s authorities.
“I believe that you are acquainted with the law and know that civil servants may speak only if empowered, otherwise all the issues are discussed with media service. I have no authority to speak on this subject. Submit an official request and we will respond to you, "said the legal expert Andrei Svet.
By the time the news were release, none of the Ministry of Health officials had offered any response on the mentioned draft law. Off record, some of them expressed their regret that the Ministry is promoting such a document."
In fact, the draft law that gives green light to selling and promoting heat-not-burn tobacco products is signed by Silvia Radu, the Minister of Health, Victoria Iftodi, the Minister of Justice and Tudor Ulianivschi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration.
Before being assigned to the position of the Minister of Health, Silvia Radu was in close touch with the business world. According to her resume published on the State Chancellery website, during 2006-2010 the present state official was among the founders and members of the Administration Council of the American Chamber of Commerce of Moldova (AMCHAM). The Association is one of the key promoters of tobacco industry's interests in the country. Also, the current Minister was the founding President of EBA (European Business Association in the Republic of Moldova) from 2011 until 2016 .
This is not the first time when the Ministry of Health avoid to take a firm stance against placing on the market of tobacco products that affect human health. Amid last summer, when world governments asked Philip Morris to stop promoting its iQOS products, the Ministry of Health in Chisinau was merely warning us that the products posed a risk to health.
The Ministry of Health's actions regarding compliance with the Tobacco Control Act are becoming increasingly inconsistent, and make it clear that the documents targeting the tobacco industry are developed outside the institution and by people interested in tobacco business.
IQOS devices entered the Moldovan market after the MPs voted in 2017, alongside with other documents, amendments to anti-tobacco law. The hands raised in favor of law amendments belonged including to those who publicly declared themselves to be smoke-free promoters. The amendments were then proposed by Democrat MP, Corneliu Dudnic. In a telephone message sent to Sanatate INFO, he suggested that he had proposed the changes to the law at the request of his party leader, Vlad Plahotniuc.
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