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Madness in Macau

Macau politicians voted to pass an amendment to legislation that all but bans vaping – and leaves the door open for a complete ban

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Macau politicians voted to pass an amendment to legislation that all but bans vaping and ensures that there’s an open door should they wish to move on to a complete ban. The autonomous region on the south coast of China sits opposite Hong Kong and it is mirroring its blinkered approach to electronic cigarettes.

In May, swathes of vape stores and related businesses in Hong Kong were forced to shut up shop forever as legislators brought in the Pharmacy and Poisons Regulations, banning everything to do with vaping.

Within a short period of time, Hong Kong customs officers said they’d seized products valued at over £1.5 million – confirming worst fears that the move would simply spawn black market smuggling routes and criminalise ordinary citizens.

Those whose lives have been saved and whose health has improved dramatically after switching to vaping products attest to the benefits of vaping loudly and decisively. Yes, protect the kids, of course, but not at the expense of the lives and health of adult smokers,” commented Heneage Mitchell, founder of

Rather than note the negative impact of Honk Kong’s ban, Macau has pressed ahead with similar intent to deny reduced harm to its citizens and pointlessly add to the size of its prison population.

The parliamentary vote agreed to ban manufacture, distribution, import, export of vapes and juices, and deny transport of electronic cigarette products across the territory.

Fines of around £400 will be levied on individual vapers while businesses can look forward to paying out between £2000 and £22,000.

The push to make this a complete Hong Kong style ban was suggested by several people speaking during the vote and pushed the administration to consider adopting it as soon as possible. The only reason given for why it hasn’t happened is to allow time for people to use up their personal stock of coils and e-liquids.

Also noted was a plan to raise the current rate of tax on all tobacco products (of which they include vaping) from 60 to 75%.

Oddly, vaping is still allowed (at the moment) on mainland China. One parliamentarian warned that a complete ban might impact tourists “passing through” to China.

In June, Heneage Mitchell pointed out: “The 70 or so countries which have regulated vaping have all seen their smoking rates plummet and the demise of conventional tobacco products. THR works. Bans don’t. Nearby Asia Pacific countries like The Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand are set to lift their failed vaping bans.”

Continuing, he added that if Hong Kong wanted to achieve genuine smoking cessation success it needed to follow the significant scientific and human evidence – and the same now applies to Macau with its regressive and evidence-free stance.

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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