Taiwan Cabinet Proposes Vape Prohibition – Including Personal Use

Taiwan’s executive branch has proposed a broad ban on vaping, including sales, manufacture, import, and even the use of e-cigarettes. The cabinet (or Executive Yuan) will send its amendment to the country’s Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act to the legislature for debate.

Descriptions of the law in news reports are confusing, suggesting that some products may be eligible for approval after being submitted to the government for assessment. But it would be nearly impossible to ban personal use only of products not approved for sale. (The provision allowing some legal products may only apply to heated tobacco products (HTPs) and not e-liquid-based vapes.)

“The bill mentions that unapproved new tobacco products, such as heated tobacco products or those already in the market, will have to be submitted to the authorities in the central government for health risk assessments, and only when they are sanctioned, can they be manufactured or imported,” the Taiwan News reported yesterday.

The proposed law provides steep fines for commercial violators, ranging from 10-50 million New Taiwan Dollars (NT), according to Focus Taiwan. That is equivalent to about $365,000 to $1.8 million U.S. Individuals breaking the law would face fines of NT2,000-10,000 ($72-362).

The amendment was proposed by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and includes hiking the legal smoking age from 18 to 20. The bill also expands the list of places smoking is not allowed.

Existing laws regarding vaping in Taiwan are confusing, and some people argue that vapes are already banned. The Customs Administration issued a press release in 2019 stating that importing e-cigarettes—even for personal use—is not allowed. And nicotine-containing products are illegal to sell in Taiwan without permission from the country’s pharma regulator.

Several cities and counties in Taiwan—including the capital Taipei—have already banned sales of e-cigarettes and HTPs, according to ECig Intelligence. Outright vape bans, like the proposed Taiwanese law, are common in Asia.

Taiwan, which is officially called the Republic of China (ROC), has a population of about 24 million. About 19 percent of adults are believed to smoke. However, it is difficult to find reliable and current smoking rate estimates because most organizations that gather such information don’t recognize Taiwan as a country. The World Health Organization (a United Nations agency) simply lumps Taiwan with the People’s Republic of China. (The PRC claims Taiwan is a breakaway province and not a sovereign nation, and Taiwan is not recognized by the UN or most other countries.)

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Switzerland Proposes a Tax on E-Liquids

The government does not want to discourage tobacco smokers from switching from smoking to vaping, and therefore it proposes a tax rate that is 77% lower than the one imposed on regular cigarettes.

The Federal Council is proposing extending the current tax on tobacco onto vaping liquids, and plans to do so at a rate that reflects the lower toxicity levels of the products. The government does not want to discourage tobacco smokers from switching from smoking to vaping, and therefore it proposes a tax rate that is 77% lower than the one imposed on regular cigarettes.

Additionally, the e-liquid tax is planned to be relative to the different nicotine contents in the products. In fact one idea is to tax the nicotine content in vape liquids for open systems, which means that taxes would increase with with rising nicotine content. While for disposable devices or ones using cartridges, the tax would be based on the quantity of liquid contained in them regardless of the nicotine content.

The government believes that such a tax could be easy to enforce and would generate around CHF 15.5 million a year, which could go towards social services. The Federal Council’s proposal, which will be discussed until 31 March 2022, responds to a motion approved by the parliament and the Council of States in March 2021.

Effects of tobaccco tax rates on adult consumption

Meanwhile, a recent study published in the Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, looking at the effects of traditional cigarette and e-cigarette tax rates on adult tobacco consumption rates, found that increased tax rates on vaping products are directly proportional to increased smoking rates.

The study titled, “The effects of traditional cigarette and e-cigarette tax rates on adult tobacco product use,” analysed the effects of taxes on traditional cigarettes and vaping products, on use patterns of these same products among adults in the United States. The researchers examined data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), over the period from 2011 to 2018.

The research found evidence that higher taxes on traditional cigarettes reduce adult smoking and increase adult e-cigarette use. Similarly, higher e-cigarette tax rates increased traditional cigarette use and reduced vaping.

“Cross-tax effects imply that the products are economic substitutes. Our results suggest that a proposed national e-cigarette tax of $1.65 per millilitre of vaping liquid would raise the proportion of adults who smoke cigarettes daily by approximately 1 percentage point, translating to 2.5 million extra adult daily smokers compared to the counterfactual of not having the tax,” read the study Abstract.

Read Further: Le News

Economist Report Indicates Proposed Vape Tax Will Hurt Smokers and Economy

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Vaping Set To Wipe Out Tobacco Bonds

THE rapid rise in e-cigarette sales is threatening to wipe out tobacco bonds sooner than expected, it has been revealed.

Tobacco bonds were forecast by many analysts to begin defaulting within the next decade but as more Americans swap cigarettes for vaping – far quicker than anticipated – some are predicted to default in less than five years.

In 1998, big tobacco companies agreed to make annual payments to most U.S. states to cover medical costs for sick smokers.

Many states opted to securitize that stream of money by selling municipal bonds backed by the expected payments from tobacco companies.

However, the payments are tied to smoking rates. Fewer shipments of cigarettes means less money to back the bonds – and smoking rates have been falling.

This means that when a bond defaults, the bond issuer – in this case the US states – fails to make its annual payment to the bond holder.

It typically occurs when the bond issuer has run out of cash to pay its bond holders – and with tobacco bonds relying on cash coming in from cigarette sales, this process could happen far sooner than expected.
Cigarette consumption has dropped an annual average of 3.4 per cent since 2000 with bonds structured to withstand consumption declines of only 2 to 3 per cent.

Some analysts are now predicting that if the number of smokers making the switch to vaping continues at its current pace and drops by another 6 to 7 per cent, the defaults could happen within a matter of years.
“If the decline goes to 6 or 7 percent, it will be very quick,” said Tom Metzold, portfolio manager at Eaton Vance Investment Managers according to news agency Reuters.

“I think that the first ones are probably five years away,” he said in reference to defaults.
While still a small part of the cigarette market, sales of e-cigarettes and vaporizers have already grown to be worth more than $2.2 billion from next to nothing four years ago.

By some estimates, they will capture more than half the smoking market within a decade, and tobacco companies are already investing heavily in vaping to secure their place in this relatively new and emerging market.

“We believe consumption of e-vapor will eclipse consumption of combustible cigs over the next decade as technology improves,” wrote Bonnie Herzog, analyst at Wells Fargo, who has tracked the tobacco industry for years, in a recent report.

The states with the highest populations, such as California and New York, are owed the most. The majority of them arranged to get much of their money up front by selling bonds and pledging the annual payments to the bond holders. But pay outs could dry up far sooner than expected, as vaping in these two states are following the US trend of rising year on year.

Earlier this week, however, San Francisco and its neighbouring Californian county, San Mateo, voted to ban all flavored vaping e-liquids.

Critics of the ban said not only will it harm vape businesses in the Californian city and neighboring towns, it will also make it harder for adult smokers to quit.

Meanwhile, a New York flavor ban has advanced to State Senate after members of the Senate Health Committee voted 14 to 1 in favor.

The bill sponsored by New York State Senator Kemp Hannon, a Republican, lays the foundation for what could be a state-wide flavor ban on all e-liquid products, with the exception of tobacco and menthol flavors by the end of this year.

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BAT Opens New Biotech Firm

The tobacco giant British American Tobacco has announced the launch of a plant-based biotechnology company called KBio in the United Kingdom.

LONDON — Multinational tobacco giant British American Tobacco (BAT) announced that they have launched a company called KBio Holdings Limited (KBio) to “accelerate the research, development, and production of novel treatments” in plant oriented processing.

This company is meant to leverage the “extensive plant-based technology capabilities” of BAT and the U.S.-based plant biologics organization Kentucky BioProcessing (KBP), in Owensboro.

“I am excited by the opportunity to build on the significant accomplishments made by BAT and KBP,” said Patrick Doyle, the chief executive officer of KBio. “I am confident in the potential of KBio’s powerful plant-based platform, capabilities, and emerging early-stage pipeline. To date, the technology has demonstrated its ability to produce novel antibody and vaccine candidates with high purity at a fraction of the time and cost of current technologies.”

BAT’s director of scientific research, Dr. David O’Reilly, added that the establishment of KBio is a crucial step for his company’s long-term efforts to move away from combustible cigarette products.

“Science and innovation are fundamental to BAT and delivering on our purpose of building A Better Tomorrow,” said O’Reilly in a statement. “We recognize the potential of our innovative plant-based technology and have established KBio to maximize that potential. We are excited to see what the future holds.”

In a statement, BAT said that Doyle brings “over 20 years of global executive leadership experience in pharma and biotech.”

“He is a proven leader with a track record of innovation, talent development, and a deep knowledge of pharmaceutical development, M&A and pathways to successful commercialization,” notes the same statement.

“KBio will look to form innovative R&D collaborations and financing aimed at expanding its pipeline and future portfolio, with an ambition of financial self-sufficiency,” adds BAT.

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Ban Francisco: Reaction to the San Francisco Flavor Ban

This week, San Francisco voted to uphold a ban on flavored vape juice and other flavored tobacco products.

The public ballot could lead to more vape restrictions applied across the United States.

Almost 70% voted in favor of ‘Proposition E’ after the city’s Board of Supervisors first approved a flavor ban last year.

The ban includes all flavored e-liquids, menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. It has been labelled one of the strictest local regulations anywhere in the western world.

Several anti-tobacco interest groups and health bodies supported the flavor ban, claiming that bright packaging may encourage kids to start using tobacco.

Vaping advocates opposed the ban, pointing out that vaping is safer than smoking and claiming that limiting access to e-cigarettes could dissuade adult smokers from trying to quit.

There is also a concern that these draconian rules will spread to other cities and states.

One of San Francisco’s California neighbors, Oakland, has already approved a similar ban while similar legislation is being tabled in New York and Chicago.

In this blog post, we look at some of the reactions from both sides of the debate to help you understand the arguments involved and the impact that the ban will have.

‘Groundbreaking law’

With deep pockets, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids was one of the most outspoken groups in the San Francisco debate.

“San Francisco’s groundbreaking law stands – and will stop the tobacco industry from targeting kids, African Americans and other populations with menthol- and candy-flavored products, as the industry has done for far too long,” said President Matthew Myers said in a statement.

‘Geared towards teens’

The American Lung Association was one health organization that welcomed the ban.

“San Francisco’s youth are routinely bombarded with advertising for flavored tobacco and e-cigarettes every time they walk into a neighborhood convenience store. It’s clear that these products with candy themes and colorful packaging are geared towards teens,” a spokesperson said.

‘Embolden other cities and states’

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg contributed more than $3m to the campaign supporting the ban.

“This vote should embolden other cities and states to act, because it demonstrates the public will not allow tobacco companies to stand in the way of policies that are proven to reduce smoking and save lives,” said Bloomberg in statement.

‘Setback for harm reduction’

Tobacco and e-cigarette company R.J. Reynolds was one of the chief funders behind the no campaign.

A spokesperson for R.J. Reynolds said that the vote was “a setback for tobacco harm reduction efforts because it removes from the market many potentially reduced-risk alternatives.”

They also said that the company would support federal regulations on restricting youth access to products while “preserving choice for adult smokers who are looking for alternatives to help them switch.”


President of the American Vaping Association Greg Conley emphasized the potential for e-cigarettes to do good for people.

“It is a travesty that anti-vaping extremists would mislead SF voters into making it harder for adult smokers to quit,” he said, adding that flavored products are helpful to adult smokers who are trying to quit.

‘Undermines FDA’s nicotine strategy’

Jeff Stier of the Consumer Choice Center took a different tact.

The FDA has previously suggested that e-cigarettes could be used as an alternative to combustible cigarettes. In March the FDA said that: “certain flavors may help currently addicted adult smokers switch to potentially less harmful forms of nicotine-containing tobacco products.”

Before the vote, Jeff Stier called on the FDA to “speak out about how a local ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes to adults could undermine the FDA’s comprehensive regulatory plan to fight smoking.”

‘Ban Francisco’

Christopher Snowdon from the Institute for Economic Affairs said that a key problem was the United States’ classification of e-cigarettes.

‘NY and Chicago next’

Other vape advocates focused on the future. YouTube personality GrimmGreen urged followers to look ahead and try to prevent similar bans in other states and cities.

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New Jersey Will Force Vape Shops to Carry Nicotine Gum

A bill passed this week in New Jersey will require vape shops and most tobacco retailers to keep nicotine gum or other nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products in stock and available for sale. The bill exempts cigar shops from the requirement.

The bill, A6020/S4114, was passed Monday by the state Senate on a 25-12 vote. It was approved by the state Assembly on a 50-18 vote in December. The bill will now go to Governor Phil Murphy to be signed into law or vetoed.

If the bill becomes law it will require “any entity that sells, offers for sale, or distributes for commercial purpose any tobacco product to maintain a stock of, and offer for retail sale, at least one type of nicotine replacement therapy drug, device, or combination product that has been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration for cessation of tobacco use.”

Retailers can choose from all FDA-approved NRT products, which include nicotine patches, gum, and lozenges. All approved NRT products are over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, meaning they can be sold in any retail outlet without a prescription.

The bill doesn’t mandate which products must be available for sale or how many packages must be kept on hand. However, retailers that sell out of NRT products must place a refill order within five days and must be restocked within 14 days, or face a $250 fine.

The NRT products must be kept behind the counter. Retailers must display a printed notice that NRT products are available in the store, and another notice containing information about the New Jersey Smoking Quitline.

A randomized controlled trial published in 2019 found vaping twice as effective as NRT products in helping people quit cigarettes when both were offered with some counseling. The Cochrane Review also concluded that vaping is effective for smoking cessation, based on its review of 50 studies. A recent study showed that 28 percent of smokers with no intention of quitting stopped smoking when they vaped daily.

There is no scientific evidence that NRT products help vapers quit e-cigarettes. However, there is strong anecdotal evidence that most vape shop customers have already unsuccessfully tried NRT products to quit smoking before they discovered vaping.

The bill has no provision for reimbursing vape shop owners’ cost to replace NRT products that expire on store shelves.

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FDA Nominee Califf Heads to Full Senate Vote, but Opposition Grows

The nomination of Dr. Robert Califf to lead the FDA will move to a vote in the full Senate after being advanced by a Senate committee today. But while Califf sailed through confirmation in his previous stint as FDA commissioner, he may be in for a fight this time.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted 13-8 to recommend President Biden’s nominee to the full Senate. The vote margin, however, was closer than expected, which could signal trouble in the final Senate vote.

Democrats Bernie Sanders and Maggie Hassan joined six Republicans in voting against Califf. Sanders has been outspoken in his opposition to Califf, who he says epitomizes the FDA-to-pharma revolving door. Four other Republicans—Richard Burr, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Mitt Romney—supported Califf’s nomination, along with nine Democrats.

In Califf’s 2016 full Senate vote, only four Senators voted against his nomination, and just one Republican. This year significant opposition to Califf from anti-abortion groups could change that, pushing many more Republicans to oppose the Biden nominee. That along with opposition from several Democrats—mostly based on concern over the FDA’s response to the opioid crisis and the nominee’s industry ties—could mean a close vote for Califf.

Several Democrats—including Sanders, Hassan, Joe Manchin, Richard Blumenthal, and Edwatd Markey—have already declared themselves no votes for Califf.

Califf served as FDA commissioner during President Obama’s last year in office, presiding over the agency’s 2016 rollout of the Deeming Rule, which gave FDA authority over e-cigarettes. Califf has generally opposed vaping as a harm reduction tool for people who smoke, and supports banning all flavored vaping products.

See our previous coverage of the Califf nomination:
Biden Could Pick Vaping Foe Robert Califf as FDA Chief (Oct. 15, 2021)
Biden Announces Nomination of Califf as FDA Commissioner (Nov. 12, 2021)
Califf Hearing Offers Few Clues to Future FDA Vape Regulation (Dec. 14, 2021)

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Dutch Study Explores The Vaping to Smoking Gateway Hypothesis

A recent US study, had indicated that teens who crave excitement and are inclined to experiment and are more likely to use multiple illicit substances, including tobacco and/or vaping products.

Titled, “Exploring the gateway hypothesis of e-cigarettes and tobacco: a prospective replication study among adolescents in the Netherlands and Flanders,” the study was published in BMJ.

The longitudinal study consisted of 2839 at baseline, 1276 at six months and 1025 at twelve months. “The analyses involved (1) associations of baseline e-cigarette use and subsequent tobacco smoking among never smokers; (2) associations of e-cigarette use frequency at baseline and tobacco smoking frequency at follow-up; and (3) the association of baseline tobacco smoking and subsequent e-cigarette use among non-users of e-cigarettes,” reported the researchers.

From the gathered data, the researchers concluded the relationship between vaping and smoking was bi-directional. “More frequent use of e-cigarettes at baseline was associated with more frequent smoking at follow-ups. Baseline tobacco smoking was associated with subsequent e-cigarette use.”

The link between vaping and smoking explained

Meanwhile, several other studies looking into this relationship have identified an explanation for this relationship. A recent study of high school seniors in the U.S., had indicated that teens who crave excitement and are inclined to experiment, are more likely to use multiple illicit substances, including tobacco and/or vaping products.

Moreover, a research team from the University of Michigan analyzing nationwide data on tobacco product use among 8th, 10th and 12th-graders, from 1991 to 2019, concluded that the “Gateway Theory” holds no ground. The compiled data indicated that daily smoking rates among 12th-grade boys rose by 4.9% a year between 1991 and 1998, but fell by 8% a year between 1998 and 2006, and by 1.6% from 2006 to 2012.

Moreover there was a 17% annual decline in smoking between 2012 and 2019. This positive pattern was consistent amongst boys and girls in all grades and for both black and white teens, corresponding to an increase in vaping rates amongst the same age groups.

Study author Rafael Meza emphasized that given these data, there is no indication of a gateway effect. “So I think the good news is that the rapid increase in e-cigarette use has not yet resulted in a reversal of the decreasing trends of cigarette smoking and smokeless tobacco use, and if anything, those trends have accelerated.”

Another Study Finds That Teen Vaping Mainly Depends on Lifestyle and Personality Factors 

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Surge Pod System – How Does an E-cigarette Work Without Coil?

Press Release

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that work by heating e-liquid into an aerosol that users can inhale.

A typical e-cigarette has an atomizer with a small heating element that vaporizes e-liquid and wicking material that draws in liquid. At the heart of the atomizer is the coil. Its resistance wire and absorbent material allow it to heat the e-liquid into vapour. When activated, the resistance wire coil heats up and vaporizes the e-liquid, which users then inhale.

Can an e-cigarette work without a coil? The answer is yes; it works very well.

Ultrasonic vaping technology makes e-cigarettes coil free. Surge, a new ultrasonic vaping brand, has developed an ultrasonic chip that vibrates at a super-high frequency of 3 million hits per second to split e-liquid into a cloud of vapour.Surge ultrasonic vape

Ultrasonic heating creates smaller particles that deliver nicotine content more efficiently for increased vaping satisfaction. This is particularly suitable for smokers who seek alternatives from traditional cigarettes.Surge Vapour

No wires are heated to produce vapour which prevents harmful dry hits and burnt taste. Vapour is created at a lower working temperature, producing fewer potential toxins and chemical by-products. Surge colour options

Ultrasonic atomization technology is commonly used in the medical treatment. Now it is being introduced into the vaping industry. We eagerly await the market’s feedback and inclusion of this technology into the vaping application.

Find out more at the Surge Vapor website.

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Vaping Faces Big Tax Hit In Trump Trade War

VAPING is set to be hit hard by a new US government tariff which would see a 25 per cent tax hike on imports from China.

The potential impact would not just affect consumers buying over the internet but vape shops across US towns and cities who are already struggling to cope with high taxes on e-cigarettes and vape goods.

The new tariff is to come into affect imminently if a trade war, which started on Friday (July 6th), between America and China continues.

Earlier this year, President Trump warned he would implement tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports, saying his administration believed Beijing had unfairly acquired US intellectual property for decades and needed to pay the price. After slapping a 25 per cent tax on over 800 exported goods at the end of last week, Beijng has now retaliated by doing the same.

Trump threatened to increase the scope to $450 billion if China started taxing in retaliation and with a trade war now in place, a second wave of products lined up to get a 25 per cent tax hike includes e-cigarettes and vaping products, amongst other electronic devices.

The US Chamber of Commerce has spoken out against the tariffs, saying a global trade war will ultimately hurt American consumers.

Chamber President Tom Donohue said to news organisation Reuters about the decision: “The administration is threatening to undermine the economic progress it worked so hard to achieve. We should seek free and fair trade, but this is just not the way to do it.”

If the duty is implemented, experts say it is difficult to tell when the affects would start to be felt by vapers – but business owners would feel the hit as soon as their existing stock had been sold off.
Insiders also warn, vape store owners could now be forced to close, after already suffering the consequences of high taxes. In the past two years states across America have already imposed their own tariffs, with many implementing a 40 per cent tax on sales of e-cigarettes and associated products.

It means retailers have to pay 40 per cent on inventories when purchasing from wholesalers, so an individual with a $100,000 inventory has to find an extra $40,000 to stay in business.

In Pennsylvania, where a 40 per cent tax was brought in in 2016, a quater of its 400 vape shops closed in the year after and with the new tariff set for imports, vape shop owners worry more will struggle to stay open.

Vape shop owner Myk Londino said of the vaping tax: “If there’s one thing that I absolutely love about the vaping industry, it took a lot of the younger-adult generation and turned us into business owners and advocates for something that we believe in.

“[The tax] is extremely discouraging and disheartening. People I personally know locked their door and never unlocked it again.”

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