Hong Kong’s Ecig Swansong

Posted 10th May 2022 by Dave Cross
Vape stores have been left with no alternative to closing and users of tobacco harm reduction products like vapes and heat-not-burn devices risk stiff penalties. Once a common-sense and legal reduced risk route out of smoking, now illegal products that will spawn black market smuggling routes and the criminalisation of ordinary citizens.

With the implementation of this ridiculous, retrograde policy, vape stores have been forced to dump existing stock and shut up shop for good. A once thriving ecig business sector has died, and those left attempting to provide 95% safer solutions to tobacco related disease have been driven underground.

Local Hong Kong news sources are reporting stores in shopping centres with the shutters down bearing closure or lease notices.

The Pharmacy and Poisons Regulations bans the import, sale and manufacture of vape devices, heated tobacco products, and herbal cigarettes. Offenders face a maximum fine of over £5000 and six months in prison. The act of vaping is still legal, but access to electronic cigarettes will force vapers to seek out the black market.

So far, Hong Kong customs officers have seized products valued at over £1.5 million. Oddly, considering that China is the source of the majority of ecig products, customs report that these products came from Japan, South Korea, the United States. Also, they have shut down two industrial units in Sheung Shui and Cheung Sha Wan being used for heated tobacco product warehousing.

The report states that the products seized at Hong Kong International Airport were contained in packaged labelled as toys and gifts. In addition, Hong Kong customs officers have arrested nine men and two women, and appropriated a delivery van and a couple of cars.

The Electronic Cigarette Company

Oddly colour ranked seizures, Hong Kong Customs

In a press release, Hong Kong Customs said: “Hong Kong Customs has mounted a special operation in the past month to combat illicit heat-not-burn (HNB) products as well as nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes and electronic cigarette oil. A total of 51 cases were detected across the territory and about 2.63 million suspected illicit HNB products, about 190 000 suspected nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes and about 5 000 millilitres of suspected nicotine-containing electronic cigarette oil were seized with an estimated market value of about $15 million and a duty potential of about $5 million.

“During the operation, Customs officers detected 42 cases on the smuggling front, including parcel, air cargo and land cargo channels, at Hong Kong International Airport, Shenzhen Bay Control Point and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Control Point. Seizures of about 1.95 million suspected illicit HNB products, about 190 000 suspected nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes and about 5 000ml of suspected nicotine-containing electronic cigarette oil were made.

Customs will continue to take stringent enforcement action against all kinds of illicit cigarette activities. Members of the public may report any suspected illicit cigarette activities to Customs' 24-hour hotline or its dedicated crime-reporting email account.”

Vape Club

Photo by Daniam Chou on Unsplash

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker