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The reliance on lies and blinkered logic to protect its tobacco industry has resulted in a boom in the black market for vape products in India. Taiwan has demonstrated a failure to grasp the fundamental aspects of harm reduction and is approaching vaping with an iron fist. Failing to learn from the mistakes of others, the Ukraine has also adopted stringent anti-vape legislation. Meanwhile, in Japan, a common sense approach has seen sales of tobacco products fall.

India holds over a quarter of the shares in ITC Limited, the nation’s leading tobacco company providing products to its 270 million smokers. Although it hasn’t banned the act of vaping, the government made it as difficult as possible by prohibiting the manufacture, import, and sale of vape products.

The consequences were inevitable.

Rather than educating the population about relative risk and harm, following the UK model, India now has no control over the quality and reliability of the products used by those seeking safer alternatives to tobacco.

The ban on selling kit for vaping hasn’t prevented sales, it simply shifted sourcing of products to the black market and the possible fines have not been the deterrent politicians hoped it would be – but the ban has driven 4/5’s of the country’s vapers back to smoking.

Taiwan thinks it can achieve better results by telling pregnant women they are "not allowed to smoke or possess e-cigarettes and heated smoking devices”. Locking up expectant mothers is certainly going to be beneficial to the babies. The same legislation applies to under 18s.

Vaping has been banned from almost every public location, indoors and outdoors. Fines for transgressing the laws can reach as much as one million Yuan – over £110,000, or around ten times the average national wage. Plus, parents of teenage vapers will find themselves punished alongside their children.

In the Ukraine, it is possible to drink yourself to death as the country is in the highest World Health Organization category of “years of life lost” due to alcohol abuse. The average consumption is 13.8 litres of pure alcohol per person per year.

Yet, for reasons known only to those behind draft law #4358, politicians are driving through a ban on e-liquid flavours, vaping in public, and the denial of truth and evidence to smokers by prohibiting reasonable advertising.

Denying access to reduced harm products will do nothing to combat the annual smoking-related death toll of 96,000 per year.

The three countries are following the WHO’s call to get tough on reduced harm products, as are many others, which makes it all the more incredible that Japan is swimming against the tide.

Smoking cessation specialist Dr Kumamaru Hiroya commented: “Since 2014, three heated tobacco products have been launched officially nationwide in Japan and these have been penetrating 25 percent [of the smoking population], and this product has been successful to reduce cigarette smoking in Japan so far by 30 percent in three to four years.”

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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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