A bill submitted to the legislative council for consideration at the next legislative session proposes the banning on the sales and movement of electronic cigarettes and all of the related paraphernalia including eliquids. It is not a surprising move as we reported Leung Chun-ying, the legislative council’s chief executive, promising sweeping reforms back in January.
Officials have chosen to ignore the ground-breaking reports issued by Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians. At the time of their releases, officials opted to cite the World Health Organisation’s 2014 report stating that it recommended the strict regulation of all vaping products.
Nav Lalji , chairman of the Asian Vape Association, at the time of the PHE report, implored: “The report proves that electronic cigarettes are indeed an effective tool for harm reduction. We urge the Hong Kong government to advocate e-cigarettes as a safer alternative instead of completely banning them.” Words that appear to have fallen on deaf ears.
Declaring vaping to be addictive and pose threats to health, government officials chose to swallow the line taken by the Baptist University researchers. In their laughable study, the reseach team declared electronic cigarettes to have a million times more cancer causing substances than the local polluted Hong Kong air.
The team announced that ecigs contained a “flame-retardant” and was enthusiastically welcomed by The Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (who commissioned the study) – they immediately called for a total ban on e-cigarettes as soon as possible.
Government officials have announced that they will continue: “to educate the public on the harm of e-cigarettes, conduct tests and studies, monitor international regulatory developments and study legislative frameworks for a ban. They plan on producing a list of products that have been inspected and said to contain harmful substances.
Meanwhile the media is running the ‘party line’; the South China Morning Post is informing its readership that children have easy access t these products and that “a six-year-old girl was once spotted by the local media in Sham Shui Po inhaling a fruit-flavoured e-cigarette like an experienced smoker.”
Although this may have implications for those currently buying their products from the likes of Fasttech, such legislation will not prevent companies in mainland China from continuing to produce products. The main Chinese vape manufacturers’ market is exportation to the United States, as long as the recent action by the FDA doesn’t impact on that then European vapers are unlikely to notice a difference. In fact, the only losers stand to be Hong Kong smokers looking to quit.