Hong Kong is the latest in a long list of territories where vaping is under major threat.
After the failure of the Legislative Council in Hong Kong to enforce a vaping ban in 2020, lawmakers revisited a long-postponed bill on alternative nicotine delivery products this year.
Despite the controversy around the 2020 version of the law, this year, it gained the support of Hong Kong’s largest political party. The bill has yet to undergo the final reading on the 21st of October at the latest. It is expected that it becomes law in the following days.
What does this mean for vapers in Hong Kong? The measure includes products such as e-cigarettes, heated tobacco, and herbal cigarettes. The new law would prohibit the importing, manufacture, and sale of the above-mentioned products, together with bans on distribution, possession, and promotion of vaping products.
The bill has been opposed by harm reduction advocates, calling upon Hong Kong’s lawmakers to consider a sensible regulation rather than a ban on safer alternatives.
Danny Wang, the leader of WVA’s partner organisation Vape Taiwan stated: “Sadly, the Hong Kong government announced the prohibition of tobacco harm reduction products. In contrast, the US FDA has approved the first vaping product PMTA permit and the Mexican court declared the ban on vaping products unconstitutional on 20 October.”
Vaping can save 200 million lives around the world. The ban on vapes will only result in the emergence of illicit trade and obstacles for smokers to pursue a healthier life.
Instead of the proposed ban, policymakers in Hong Kong should listen to science, consider the public health benefits that vaping brings and embrace it as an effective harm reduction method.
“We are calling all Asian governments to destigmatize vaping products based on scientific evidence,” concluded Danny Wang.