The amended Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act (菸害防制法), has been approved and bans the sale, manufacture, and supply of vaping products. Moreover, the measure raises the legal smoking age from 18 to 20, and the proportion of tobacco warnings would increase from 35% to 50% of cigarette packs.
Heated tobacco products (HTPs) would be subject to tighter regulations and advertising them would be banned. While manufacturers or importers of HTPs will have to submit a health risk evaluation report for review before they can receive a permit to sell them. Anyone caught violating this may be faced with a hefty penalty of NT$50 million.
This ban is a public health catastrophe
In a recent release, Director of the World Vapers’ Alliance, Michael Landl, said that this ban is a public health catastrophe in the making. “What we are seeing in Taiwan is the result of a terrible misinformation campaign on harm reduction. Vaping is way less harmful than smoking and has the potential to save thousands of lives in Taiwan. History has also shown that bans and prohibitions do not work. Bans on vaping will only push thousands of people back to smoking or to the black market. If we want to achieve a smoke-less society, we must support tobacco harm reduction, not destroy it. Today’s decision by the Taiwanese legislators is a catastrophic mistake for the country’s public health.”
He added that regulations should be relative to risk. “Instead of outright bans, regulation must be based on science and the experience of millions of consumers. Less harmful products must be treated differently than cigarettes. Taiwan should follow harm reduction leaders like the United Kingdom or Sweden, who are embracing vaping instead of fighting it,” he added.
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