Wang Yuyang, the toughest vaper, chairman of the Taiwan Tobacco Harm Reduction Association (TTHRA), announced that he will participate in Taiwan’s 2020 legislative elections. He hopes to have the opportunity to personally intervene in the legislation of Taiwan’s electronic cigarette industry from the legislative side, thereby reversing the current Taiwan government’s ban on electronic cigarettes and the policy revision direction. This is also the first time in the world that the e-cigarette industry represent elect for the vape legalization.
Wang Yuyang is currently the chairman of TTHRA and the head of VAPE Taiwan Inc. In the past, he served as the secretary general of the Taiwan Vape Industry Development Association (TVA) and the chief executive of a vape juice company in Taiwan.
TTHRA’s main job is to communicate with the Taiwanese government on behalf of the Taiwanese electronic cigarette industry, and is committed to promoting the related operations of electronic cigarettes and heat not burn products. Wang’s contribution to the e-cigarette industry and his efforts allowed him to receive an exclusive interview with the well-known British electronic cigarette media Vapouround in 2018. In the same year, the company’s e-liquid brand also won the IECIE Shenzhen Electronic Cigarette Show’s best vape juice award and the best partner of the MIVAS Malaysia Electronic Cigarette Show.
At the beginning of this year, Taiwan’s major media headlines continued to broadcast the news that “Taiwan police smashed the e-cigarette selling groups and seized more than 10,000 bottles of e-cigarettes juice.” Taiwan’s e-cigarette regulations were once again on the table. Although in October 2017, the Taiwan authorities said that “the e-cigarette will be completely banned”, Zhang Xiuyan, deputy spokesperson of the administrative agency, also said that the “Cigarette Prevention Law” will be amended and the manufacture, import and sale of e-cigarettes will be completely banned, but so far, Taiwan has no form of “electronic cigarette regulatory law”.
Wang told the Vape hk that because the competent authorities have been slow to legislate, Taiwan’s current e-cigarette regulations are like many areas where electronic cigarettes have not been legal. The use of existing laws to manage e-cigarettes has led to regulatory vacuums and market chaos.
At present, Taiwan’s management of electronic cigarettes, such as those containing nicotine, has not been applied for inspection and registration in accordance with the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law. It is illegal to manufacture and import “may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of up to ten years, and a fine of NT$100 million or less”. Selling “may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to seven years, and a fine of NT$50 million for the company”. If it claims that e-cigarette products can quit smoking, the medical performance can be NT$600,000 to over $25 million. The following fines may be imposed; if the nicotine is not included, it may be disposed of in accordance with the “External Type of Tobacco Products” of the “Smoke Prevention and Control Act”. “The manufacturer or importer shall be fined between 10,000 yuan and 50,000 yuan.” However, the actual market situation in Taiwan is that as long as the vape juice does not contain nicotine and the appearance of the look of the device is not like cigarette, the sales side will not violate the law of appeal, and thus the e-cigarette store will be built, and the government will be unable to manage the wonderful phenomenon. .
Of course, this also caused the law enforcement office to be very troubled. According to Taiwan Customs, the office may, in accordance with the administrative order of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, detain nicotine vape juice and all related devices considered to be electronic cigarettes, but this act does not have any legal basis and effect, so law enforcement agencies and operators are often being at a loss, even having to face the stalemate in court.
In addition, Taiwan’s regulatory authorities do not recognize the “harm reduction value” of new types of tobacco, including e-cigarettes and HnB. A representative of the Department of Health and Welfare publicly stated: “Smoking only harms the body, so do the new electronic cigarettes and HnB products.” The agency quoted the World Health Organization’s information on HnB as saying that there is no evidence that HnB is less harmful than traditional tobacco products, the head of the “Tobacco Control Section”, Russell Ying, is more worried that HnB may attract more young people to smoke. It can be seen that Taiwan’s regulatory authorities have a negative perception of new tobacco products, and the “all-round ban” of e-cigarettes seems to be an unshakable decision.
To this end, Wang announced the details of the specific amendments to the regulations when he announced his candidacy on April 27. He stressed that “the amendment should address the definition, manufacture, import, sale, export, tax rate, advertising, penalties, etc. of e-cigarette products. And the legislation details should be discussed among business, officials, and academics.”
The political views of Wang’s election are:
1. Promoting the 2040 smoke-free Taiwan policy
2. Establishing tobacco harm reduction products – electronic cigarette (VAPE) regulations
3. Establishing tobacco harm reduction products – heat not burn products regulations
4. Adding smoking rooms in public places and increasing the penalty for littering cigarettes
Wang Yuyang said:
“At present, Taiwan’s e-cigarette market is not legally managed. From the perspective of market sales and the rapid increase in e-cigarette stores, the e-cigarette market in Taiwan is still growing strongly.”
“And according to informed sources, Taiwan’s legislative units will not review the draft amendments to the smoke prevention system before the election on January 11, 2020. That is to say, after the election next year, even the supervisory units in May next year will change. Taiwan’s e-cigarette regulations will remain in a gray area, and the e-cigarette market will continue to explode if it is unmanageable.”
On the other hand, Wang is also drawing on the experience of e-cigarette regulations in many countries. For example, the regulation of e-cigarettes in countries such as the United Kingdom, Europe, New Zealand, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Bahrain and Kuwait has gradually become clear, giving Taiwan a good example of promoting the legalization of e-cigarettes. The United States, Thailand, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc., which are still working hard, can understand and learn from the experience of their proponents and apply them to promote the legal operation of electronic cigarettes in Taiwan.
Although Wang is very much looking forward to Taiwan’s ability to introduce reasonable policies and regulations as soon as possible, and is optimistic about Taiwan’s e-cigarette market, he also solemnly said to Vape hk, “From the successful promotion of e-cigarette legality, it can be found that vape industry must unite and be able to generate enough energy to promote the practice. If every vaper is unwilling to cooperate with each other, it is easy to cause the opponents to stop the new vape law legislation. In a word, there should be a combined power to promote the legalization of electronic cigarettes.”
Therefore, he hopes that Taiwan’s e-cigarette industry will be able to make the legalization of vapes as the primary goal in the future, and unite and share resources, so that there is a chance to usher in the possible victory. In addition, he does not reject any type of support, as long as he can help Taiwan’s electronic cigarette industry, he can readily accept. “It’s hard for me to choose one by myself! It’s still up to everyone to work together…” Wang said with a smile after the interview.