On February 20, the Hong Kong SAR Government submitted a draft bill to the Legislative Council on the overall prohibition of electronic cigarettes. But Shao Jiahui, a member of the Legislative Council of the Liberal Party who opposed the government’s ban on electronic cigarettes, demanded a fixed number of points at the beginning of the second reading, which was suspended and the legislation was not passed yet.
According to the proposed law of the Hong Kong Government, the import, production, distribution and promotion of electronic cigarette products will be prohibited. Anyone who violates the relevant provisions will be convicted and sentenced to up to six months’ imprisonment and a fine of HK$50,000. Distribution in the form of prizes or gifts will also be prohibited. The use of electronic cigarettes in non-smoking areas is subject to a fixed administrative fine of $1500 or a fine of up to HK$5,000 imposed by the court.
It is reported that if the Legislative Council passes the proposal, the new comprehensive ban on electronic cigarettes will take effect six months after the date of publication in the gazette.
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However, there are still a large number of people who are still strongly opposed to it. It can be seen that the legislative process will not be particularly smooth.
“Either continue to smoke cigarettes to destroy their bodies; or become government criminals”
Mr. Chen, a Hong Kong citizen, said, “The government’s legislation has forced a large number of smokers to choose one of the two wrong options: to continue to smoke traditional cigarettes to destroy their bodies or to become government criminals. And neither of them is the choice I want.
Nav Lalji, chairman of the Asian Electronic Tobacco Association, said that Hong Kong is close to Shenzhen, a city that produces more than 90% of the world’s electronic cigarettes, and is a transit point for Shenzhen’s electronic cigarettes exports worldwide. Hong Kong citizens can easily buy e-cigarettes across borders and online. Therefore, once this legislation is passed, a large number of people will be driven into the underground black market.
When cigarettes, which kill more than 7 million people worldwide each year, are still on convenience store shelves, is it not the incompetence of some regional governments to impose a comprehensive ban on a safer alternative?