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Taiwan mulls ban on flavored cigarettes

Flavors believed to be among factors that make smoking attractive to teenagers

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Flavored cigarettes (Pixabay photo)

Flavored cigarettes (Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s health authorities are seeking to prohibit flavored tobacco products found to appeal to youths.

Around four out of 10 juvenile smokers used flavored cigarettes in 2019, and the products appear to be more popular among girls. Over 81,000 teenagers reported having developed the habit of using traditional cigarettes last year, according to the Health Promotion Administration (HPA).

There were over 1,200 registered tobacco flavorings in Taiwan in 2019, with the 10 most common being vanilla, floral and fruity flavors, candy, menthol, almond, caramel, butter, cherry, cinnamon, and rose. Most of the ingredients are chemical compounds.

The HPA said youths tend to believe such products pose lesser health risks and that they underestimate the addictive properties of nicotine. The agency has thus included restrictions on floral, fruity, chocolate, menthol, and other additives in the proposed amendment to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act.

The amendment, which is currently being reviewed before its legislative reading, will also regulate novel tobacco products such as e-cigarettes (vaping products) and heated tobacco products (HTP). Meanwhile, the scope of smoking bans will likely be expanded, wrote UDN.

A total of 39 nations have moved to regulate tobacco flavorings, including the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Singapore, Turkey, and EU member states.