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Macau To Follow China’s Lead

Macau officials are pushing forward a Chinese policy of banning the production, sale, distribution, import, export, and transport of electronic cigarettes

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Macau, or the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (MSAR) to give it its full title, looks as though it is set to enact the regressive anti-vape policy recently imposed on Chinese citizens. As with this week’s news from Hong Kong, MSAR officials are proposing to ban the production, sale, distribution, import, export, and transport of electronic cigarettes.

Historically referred to the Las Vegas of the East, officials are gambling with people’s lives by proposing to deny them access to reduced harm products, shoring up the Chinese state-owned tobacco industry in the process.

The MSAR Executive Council have proposed that anyone breaking their illogical and evidence-free proposals will be fined from around £400 up to £2000. Despite having the fourth-highest life expectancy in the world, officials clearly don’t value the lives of smokers.

Like Hong Kong, Macau outwardly wants to show it has separate governing and economic systems from China but the similarity in this proposal to China’s recent and Hong Kong’s proposed bans is striking.

Announcing that the £400 fine would be applied to anybody carrying personal vape devices into the city, Macau Health Bureau Director Alvis Lo said: “The use of electronic cigarettes is harmful to health, namely, it causes harmful effects to pregnant women, children and adolescents, and also exposing non-smokers to nicotine and other harmful chemicals. These devices have a vaporiser that can sometimes include unknown substances. This is something that worries us.

We support any resident that wants to quit smoking. It is complex work that may require some medications. Residents can go to any health centre and ask for assistance. Smoking rates in the city have decreased annually, and the success rate for people who have reached out to the health services to quit smoking is at about 43%.”

Amazingly, Health Bureau Director Lo’s worry does not extend to tobacco products (such as those produced by the Chinese state monopoly). Although the ban is proposed for vape devices and e-liquids, it will not apply to cigarettes and cigars which present a huge risk to health.

Listing a range of dubious and unsourced statistics about plummeting smoking rates in adults and teens, Director Lo stated that vaping does not work as a quit tool and added that there was the existence of evidence proving it is “inefficient”.

With reference to Lo’s claims:

  1. harmful to health – while not safe, it is accepted that vaping is at least 95% safer
  2. harmful effects to pregnant women – the NHS accepts it is at least 95% safer for pregnant women too (who find it harder to quit otherwise)
  3. exposes non-smokers to nicotine and other harmful chemicals – Public Health England wrote in 2018, “there have been no identified health risks of passive vaping to the health of bystanders
  4. They can include unknown substances – in the same article, Public Health England pointed out that the UK’s strict regulation ensured that we can know precisely what is in e-liquid
  5. vaping doesn’t work – multiple studies demonstrate that it does, as do the personal stories from all of the Planet of the Vapes forum members
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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