Thursday, May 23, 2024

Paraguay Faces Challenges with Excessive E-Cigarette Imports and Sales

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According to the Paraguayan news website ABC Color, preliminary data from the Paraguayan Customs shows that over 8 million e-cigarettes were legally imported into Paraguay in 2021 alone. The local market is flooded with high-nicotine e-cigarettes, significantly exceeding the limits allowed by health regulations. A report from the importers’ department suggests that the actual number of products related to the e-cigarette market could be as high as 26 million.

Health authorities suspect that these large quantities of e-cigarettes have been imported using incorrect tariff codes. According to Paraguayan health regulations, the nicotine content in e-liquids for e-cigarettes should not exceed 2%. However, products available in the market often contain 5% nicotine.

Dr. Myriam Osorio, the Complaints and Intervention Director of Paraguay’s National Health Regulatory Agency (Dinavisa), has expressed suspicions regarding this matter. As a result, they have requested collaboration with the National Customs Authority and the Prosecutor’s Office in order to seek a solution.

A report from the Importer Department suggests that the actual number of products related to the e-cigarette market could be as high as 26 million units, all of which have been imported using incorrect tariff codes.

Starting from 2022, Paraguay will categorize the import of e-cigarettes, pods, and derivatives of e-cigarette products under a single tax code: 85.43.40.00.

According to customs data, Paraguay imported 1.57 million e-cigarettes from January 2022 to June 2023, with a total value of 308.82 billion Guaranis (approximately 310 million yuan). Among them, 97% of the imports came from China.

Dinavisa has reported to the public prosecutor the illegal sales of e-cigarettes. They have pointed out that these products are openly sold in various types of stores, shopping centers, gas stations, etc. Furthermore, their nicotine content (5%) far exceeds the permitted 2% set by Paraguayan regulations.

The health department considers e-cigarettes as a threat to human health, particularly in cases where regulation is insufficient. Government officials express concerns about the rapid spread of unregulated e-cigarettes among young people.

Miguel Marecos, President of the National Union of Directors (Sinadi), has stated that every year, around 400 to 500 students in Paraguay schools are found in possession of e-cigarettes.

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