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Hong Kong Drops Plans to Ban Vape Sales (For Now)

Hong Kong Drops Plans to Ban Vape Sales (For Now)

2020-06-11

The Hong Kong legislature has dropped plans to ban vaping products—at least for now. Vaping and harm reduction advocates are fighting the proposed ban since it had been announced quite 19 months ago during a speech by Hong Kong’s chief executive.

The Bills Committee on Smoking of the legislature ended discussions over the bill to ban e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTPs, also referred to as heat-not-burn products) last week. The committee had been performing on the bill since March 2019, holding six meetings and three public hearings, consistent with the Manila Standard.

Some legislature members on the committee strongly opposed the ban, citing the injustice of denying low-risk nicotine products to people that smoke. “Legislators like Peter Shui, Raymond Chan and Cheng Chunt-tai, have repeatedly argued that a ban was neither logical nor feasible,” said Nancy Loucas, executive coordinator of Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates, a regional consumer advocacy organization.

The head of the Hong Kong Tobacco and Alcohol Control Office, Dr. Fung Ying, told the South China Morning Post that the govt would introduce another bill to ban vapes within the next legislative session. “At this stage, our most urgent task is public education about the risks of heated tobacco products and to protect against the misleading claim that they carry a lower risk and observe the trend,” Fung told the paper.

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The original bill would have banned the sales, manufacture, importation, distribution, or promotion of vapor and HTP products, and set penalties of up to 6 months in jail and a fine of fifty ,000 Hong Kong dollars (about $6,370 U.S.) for violators. the govt even planned to seize products brought into Hong Kong by tourists.

As we reported last year, enforcement agencies would tend more power to clamp down on offenders under the vaping ban than they need for violators of the laws on public smoking. The bill didn't include any restrictions on sales or importation of cigarettes.

The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) estimated last year that 35,000 vaping Britons visit Hong Kong annually. British advocacy group urged U.K. tourists who vape to consider before traveling to Hong Kong if the ban is passed.

Hong Kong may be a semi-autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. it's a population of seven .4 million people living in a neighborhood of about 400 square miles, and a high standard of living. Hong Kong lies just south of Shenzhen, China, where most vaping products sold round the world are manufactured. Many products produced in Shenzhen are transported through the huge shipping facilities in Hong Kong .

China took possession of Hong Kong from Britain in 1997, promising to grant the territory limited self-rule for 50 years. In recent months, China has made moves to scale back Hong Kong’s autonomy, taking steps to finish the “one country, two systems” structure that was alleged to remain effective until 2047.


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