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Taipei set to ban sale of vaping and heated tobacco products

Capital leads Taiwan in enforcing ban, citing health threats and addiction risk for juveniles in particular

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In this Jan. 2, 2020, file photo, vaping devices are displayed at a store in New York.

In this Jan. 2, 2020, file photo, vaping devices are displayed at a store in New York. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A ban on electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTPs) passed the third reading at the Taipei City Council on Wednesday (Nov. 3), positioning the capital to become the first city in Taiwan to outlaw novel tobacco products.

The city ordinance stipulates that the manufacture, import, sale, supply, display, or advertising of the products is illegal, while their use is banned within 50 meters of school campuses. The regulation is pending Cabinet approval, wrote CNA.

Violators will be fined between NT$10,000 (US$359) and NT$50,000. Juveniles busted using e-cigarettes or HTPs will be required to receive education about ways to quit smoking, and absences from these classes will incur penalties ranging from NT$2,000 to NT$10,000.

The city's Department of Health suggested businesses selling vaping and heated tobacco products have misled the public by claiming such alternatives help wean people off smoking. However, up to 80% of e-liquid refills are found to contain nicotine in annual sampling inspections led by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which indicates the risk of addiction, said the department.

The apparent health threat such products can pose has also been a major reason for the tightening of rules.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned about the “higher levels of toxins in HTP aerosols than in conventional cigarette smoke,” while a study published by the Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis in March indicated that at least 164 of the 1,064 chemicals found in vaping devices available in Australia were toxic, according to the John Tung Foundation.

The new products have proved to be appealing to youths, in part due to the various flavors. Last month the Consumers’ Foundation flagged the prevalence of such merchandise on e-commerce platforms.

The review of a proposed amendment to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act has hit a snag as the Cabinet debates the need to separately regulate e-cigarettes and HTPs. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has promised to submit it for legislative reading by the end of this year, reported China Times.

Taipei set to ban sale of vaping and heated tobacco products
E-cigarettes and other contraband found on Taiwan's e-commerce platforms. (CNA photo)