Taipei urged to clamp down on heated tobacco shops

Non-profit says vaping, HTP businesses running rampant as government mulls tightening regulation

Heated tobacco products shop in Taipei (John Tung Foundation photo)

Heated tobacco products shop in Taipei (John Tung Foundation photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The authorities have been called upon to enforce a crackdown on heated tobacco product (HTP) shops in Taipei, which some fear could have a detrimental effect on younger Taiwanese.

The John Tung Foundation (JTF), a non-profit organization that promotes the public’s wellbeing, raised an alarm after an American tobacco company opened an HTP shop in Xinyi District. The move is a blatant challenge to the country’s bid to tighten tobacco controls pending a legislative review of an amendment to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act, JTF said.

The proposed amendment seeks to expand the scope of smoking bans, raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 20, and prohibit electronic cigarettes (vapes). However, HTP products will only be subject to regulation, not banned entirely.

This has drawn the ire of anti-smoking groups, which insist all non-traditional tobacco merchandise should be forbidden.

JTF lashed out at novel tobacco product companies for exploiting legal loopholes to lure teenagers before relevant regulations are put in place. It suggested that HTP retailers have copied e-cigarette businesses' strategy of setting up "display" shops that do not sell anything so that they can instead sell tobacco products to juveniles over social media.

The World Health Organization has stated that exposure to any kind of tobacco product poses health risks. Taiwan’s health authorities are also looking at a blanket ban on flavored tobacco products, which are particularly popular among younger smokers.

Updated : 2021-01-22 08:14 GMT+08:00