The Hong Kong Legislative Council has abandoned plans to ban vape products-at least for now. Since the Hong Kong Chief Executive announced the ban in a speech more than 19 months ago, vape and harm reduction advocates have been opposing the ban.
The Bills Committee on Smoking of the Legislative Council ended its discussion on banning vape and heat-not-burn products (HTP) last week. Since March 2019, the committee has been committed to the bill, convening six meetings and three public hearings.
Some legislators of the committee strongly opposed the ban, saying that it is unfair not to allow smokers to use low-risk nicotine products.
“Legislators such as Peter Shui, Raymond Chan and Cheng Chunt-tai, have repeatedly argued that smoking bans are neither logical nor feasible,” said Nancy Loucas, executive coordinator of Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates, a regional consumer advocacy organization.
Dr. Fung Ying, director of the Hong Kong Tobacco and Alcohol Control Office, said the government would introduce another bill to ban vape at the next legislative session.
“At the present stage, our most urgent task is public education about the risks of heated tobacco products and to guard against the misleading claim that they bring a lower risk and observe the trend,” Fung said.
The original bill would prohibit the sale, manufacture, import, distribution, or promotion of vapor, HTP products, violators would sentence to a maximum of 6 months imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 Hong Kong dollars (about 6,370 US dollars). The government even plans to confiscate the products that tourists bring into Hong Kong.
Law enforcement agencies will give higher powers to crack down on lawbreakers under the vape ban than smoking in public places. The bill does not include any restrictions on cigarette sales or imports.
The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) estimates that there were 35,000 Britons using vapes in Hong Kong each year last year. The British advocacy group urges British tourists who use vapes to think twice before traveling to Hong Kong if the ban passed.
Hong Kong is located in the south of Shenzhen, China. Shenzhen is the world’s production base for 90% of vape products. Many products produced in Shenzhen transported through Hong Kong’s substantial shipping facilities.
This article is issued by vaping360.