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Banning Ecigs in Asia is Wrong

Findings released at a symposium reveal alarm at proposed bans across the continent.

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The “Harm Reduction in Asia – Developing a Regulatory Framework for E-cigarettes” Symposium in Hong Kong was organised by During the course of events,’s co-founder John Boley announced the findings of a survey carried out by global market research company Ipsos. campaigns for consumer rights across the Asiatic continent, from Australia to China. They advocate reasoned debate and sensible regulation of electronic cigarettes.

Boley revealed: “75% of those polled were in favour of the government not preventing or delaying the introduction of less harmful alternatives.” The independent research organisation had polled people from Australia to Malaysia, New Zealand to Taiwan. “There was strong agreement,” he added, that governments across the region should be encouraging smokers to switch to the less harmful alternative. In fact, 82% of people surveyed agreed with that statement.

The news arrives during a week where pronouncements from the region range from sad to obscene. There were calls in Thailand to ban all vape products as they “promote” nicotine use – this despite the fact that there is already a ban on vaping in Thailand! In New Zealand, vapers were demanding that the government abided by its draft advice to healthcare workers and pointing them towards the recent Public Health England report. Meanwhile, in Malaysia, anti-ecig campaigners hysterically proclaimed that many liquids contain illegal substances – in their efforts to speed up a total ban instead of the proposed regulation till 2016.

“There is an extraordinary degree of uncertainty,” continued Boley. “We also asked whether they thought they were okay with using e-cigarettes in their own country; more of a third of the people polled across the region, or 36% of people in Hong Kong, do not know whether these things were legal or not.”

“Here in Asia, many authorities appear untroubled by facts or the weight of independent opinion from acknowledged experts in harm reduction, even though reducing death and disease associated with smoking is a stated public health aim everywhere,” John wrote for Nikkei Asian Review.

“We are seeing a rapid increase in adult smokers switching to vape products throughout Hong Kong,” said Nav Lalji. The founder of the Asian Vape Association added: “A lot of users strongly oppose a ban on e-cigarettes because this means that they will be forced to go back to using tobacco cigarettes, which ironically are not banned.”

Previously, when a proposed ban was mooted in Hong Kong, Lalji commented: “The government should regulate the content of e-cigarettes and ban them for those under the age of 18, but it is a free market and adults should be able to choose whether or not to use e-cigarettes. If the government is worried about the safety of the public, how come they do not ban the consumption of tobacco first?”

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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