Hong Kong to expect a complete ban on e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products

Local | 2 Sep 2021 12:34 pm

Hong Kong could see a complete ban on electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products soon, after the city’s largest party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, throws its support behind it. 

DAB lawmaker Wong Ting-kwong, chairman of the Bills Committee on Smoking, said the government has asked him to host a meeting Friday next week, which would see the government finalize its stance on whether or not to ban all these new tobacco products. 

According to reports, the DAB had called an internal meeting earlier and had decided to throw their support behind the motion of a complete ban on the new tobacco products.

With DAB lawmakers making up more than half of the committee members, the legislative amendment of banning all new tobacco products will most likely go through within the current Legco term.

The bill that would amend the Smoking Ordinance by targeting new tobacco products was introduced in February 2019 to outlaw the importation and sales – but not consumption – of electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products.

However, some lawmakers see regulation as the way forward.

Liberal Party's Peter Shiu Ka-fai said that 64 countries, including China, had started regulating these products. He also said that authorities should handle e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products separately, as there is insufficient evidence to ban heated tobacco products now.

Shiu also added that it would be unfair to ban the heated tobacco products but not traditional cigarettes, given they are all tobacco products.

The proposal was among four bills that Legco stopped working on last June, but after Beijing endorsed the Hong Kong government’s request to extend the Legco term by a year, a new bills committee was set up last November. It last met in June this year to discuss the bill. 

According to the Food and Health Bureau, the government plans to secure passage of the bill within the current Legco term, which will end in October.

If the bill is passed, Hong Kong will have prohibitions in place for alternative smoking products. Sales of e-cigarettes are currently banned in 30 jurisdictions worldwide, including Macau and Singapore.

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