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Question: Ignacio, what have been the most important THR news stories of 2023?
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Ignacio Leiva: One of the most significant and noteworthy developments in tobacco harm reduction of 2023 was the final approval of the law regulating vaping in Chile. This milestone, achieved after 14 years of advocacy and persistence, represents a major victory for supporters of vaping and harm reduction. The upcoming enactment of this law is cause of celebrating among those who have long advocated for fair and balanced regulations in the fields of vaping. This progress in Chile serves as a significant example in the global landscape of tobacco harm reduction.
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Question: What are your New Year's wishes and hopes for 2024?
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Ignacio Leiva: I want to wish to all those who support vaping and advocate for fair regulations around the world a joyful Christmas season. May your dedication and effort be rewarded with progress, understanding and the truth of true over misinformation. I hope it brings you renewed energy hope and the sense of community as you continue to work toward a future where informed choices and balanced regulations prevail. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you.
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Question: Alexandro, what have been the most significant THR news of 2023?
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Alexandro Lucian: Well, I have to say something about Brazil, of course. It's my country. Anvisa, or National Health Regulatory Agency, is reviewing the current legislation about vaping. Since 2009, the sales, importation and advertisement are banned. Despite that, it was never prohibited to own or use a vaping device. That created a very big illegal market with millions of consumers using products without any sanitary control or standards. And after 14 years of prohibition, a discussion started in 2019 and this year, 2023, we are seeing the last steps of this process and the agency opened a public consultancy where the Brazilian society can share contributions for a final decision to be made next year. We are waiting for the consumers to participate and to be listened to as a main audience that is being harmed by the current regulation. Brazilian smokers who want to use and to switch from traditional cigarettes to alternative nicotine products, such as vaping devices, are at the mercy of an illegal market. and we deserve the same rights as people of United Kingdom, Sweden, New Zealand and many other countries.
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Question: What are your hopes for THR in Brazil in 2024?
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Alexandro Lucian: Well, we have hope, lots of hope, and we wish that next year Anvisa to be pragmatic, technical and accept science and update the regulation about vaping, allowing sales, importation and to give access to adult smokers while protecting minors. Today it's illegal to even promote research about vaping. So this puts Brazil behind harm reduction and tobacco research in the world. We hope that things change and we hope that the ban that has never prevented the use of electronic cigarettes can be changed by adequate and proper regulation. In Brazil we have consumers only growing. According to new national surveys there are more than 4 million consumers and we have absolutely no idea what they are inhaling. So we wish that Anvisa and our country to be scientific, pragmatic and technical and regulate properly vaping devices.