The Ministry of Health of Argentina has issued Resolution 565/2023, which prohibits the import, distribution, commercialization, and advertising of Heated Tobacco Products (HTP). The measure aims to restrict the use of these products, which are considered harmful to health. Instead, the government seeks to encourage people to access reliable information based on scientific evidence regarding the health consequences of tobacco consumption in all its formats.
HTPs use an electrical device to heat a special cigarette containing reconstituted tobacco at a temperature that does not produce combustion. Although marketed as products with reduced risks, no independent study has shown them to be harmless to health. On the contrary, some research has shown that they contain many of the toxic substances found in regular cigarettes, in some cases in higher concentrations.
This initiative is part of a series of actions carried out by the National Directorate of Integral Approach to Non-Communicable Diseases (DNAIENT) in compliance with the objectives of the National Tobacco Control Program (PNCT). The government aims to prevent the initiation of tobacco use, reduce consumption, protect the population from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, and promote smoking cessation in the population.
Tobacco consumption is one of the main risk factors for non-communicable diseases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in developed countries and the most important cause of years of life lost and/or lived with disability. In Argentina, it is estimated that 40,000 people die each year due to tobacco-related illnesses.
Tobacco is directly related to the onset of many diseases, primarily different types of cancer (lung, larynx, pharynx, kidney, liver, bladder, among others); cardiovascular diseases (heart attacks, strokes, aneurysms); respiratory diseases (chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease); and repeated respiratory infections.
It is always possible to quit smoking, and with help, it is more likely to be successful. The Ministry of Health has developed various strategies to support people who want to quit smoking, which can be accessed through the following link: https://www.argentina.gob.ar/salud/consumo-de-tabaco/como-dejar-de-fumar.
There are also Smoking Cessation Centers in Argentina, which have healthcare teams trained to help people with this addiction. More information about these centers is available here: https://www.argentina.gob.ar/salud/consumo-de-tabaco/como-dejar-de-fumar/centros-de-cesacion-tabaquica-en-la-argentina.
When people quit smoking, they obtain immediate and long-term health benefits. According to scientific evidence, within 20 minutes of quitting smoking, heart rate and blood pressure decrease. In the next 12 hours, the level of carbon monoxide in the blood drops to normal values. After 2-12 weeks, blood circulation improves and lung function increases. Between 1-9 months, coughing and breathing difficulties are reduced, and in 1 year, the risk of coronary heart disease is 50% lower than that of a smoker.
After 5 years of quitting smoking, the risk of stroke decreases. In 10 years, the risk of lung cancer decreases to 50% of that of a smoker, and the risk of mouth, throat, esophageal, bladder, and pancreatic cancers also decreases. In 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease is the same as that of a nonsmoker.
Promoting healthy eating habits, regular physical activity, limiting alcohol consumption, and avoiding the use of tobacco products prevents non-communicable diseases and promotes a better life in the community.