Objectives To identify proponents and opponents of the commercialisation and marketing of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTPs), identify the arguments used on both sides and compare how the arguments have changed over time, we analysed three policy discussions occurring in 2009, 2018 and 2019.
Methods We conducted a content analysis of one document and six videos from these discussions, provided on the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency website, or upon request.
Results The arguments most used by tobacco companies were related to claims that the use of e-cigarettes and HTPs is less harmful than conventional tobacco. Unions that support its commercialisation also argued that lifting the ban would prevent smuggling and guarantee their quality. On the other side, universities, medical and anti-tobacco institutions argued that such devices may have health risks, including the risk of inducing cigarette smoking. In 2009, most arguments belonged to the ‘health’ theme, while in 2018 and 2019 economic arguments and those related to morals and ethics were frequently used.
Conclusions Those that supported the commercialisation and marketing of e-cigarettes and HTPs first focused on arguments of harm reduction, while 10 years later the right to access and potential economic consequences also became common. Public health agents and academics must gather evidence to effectively respond to these arguments and discuss these policies, and must prepare themselves to use and respond to arguments related to moral and economic themes.
- harm reduction
- electronic nicotine delivery devices
- public policy
- tobacco industry
Data availability statement
We conducted a content analysis of the arguments used by stakeholders involved in three different events of public discussion about the regulation of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products in Brazil. (1) Public consultation n. 41/2009—the report of the event (analysed document) was requested to the Brazilian government through a simple system of access to information and sent to the corresponding author by email. (2) Panel of 2018—the videos of the event (analysed documents) can be found on these websites: https://youtu.be/PjA3A-BgvC8; https://youtu.be/_UrM6YoF0b4; https://youtu.be/DRRS57m4Sgc. (3) Public hearings of 2019—the videos of the event (analysed documents) can be found on these websites: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLjgDraDDxM; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAuEV3atvdc; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIy9JK3dmm0; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiqA90lZIoc.
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