TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A ban on electronic cigarettes passed the third legislative reading on Thursday (Jan. 12) in a move to address the increasing popularity of vaping products in Taiwan’s youths.
The sale, manufacture, and supply of e-cigarettes will be outlawed and heated tobacco products (HTPs) will be subjected to tighter regulation, according to an amendment to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act (菸害防制法).
Manufacturers or importers of HTPs will have to submit a health risk evaluation report for review before they can receive a permit. Also, advertising of heating devices for such products will be banned, wrote CNA.
Other changes involve raising the legal smoking age from 18 to 20, increasing the proportion of tobacco package warning messages from 35% to 50%, and designating childcare centers as well as schools of all levels as no-smoking areas.
The move is hailed as a partial victory for anti-tobacco groups after years of calls for stricter control of cigarettes and novel tobacco products. The last time the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act was amended was in 2009.
Among the contentious parts of the amendment is how flavored tobacco products are to be regulated. Critics say the change is not bold enough as it only prohibits the use of banned additives, but this can present a loophole as the terminology is vague, wrote UDN.
The pace of how juveniles in Taiwan have taken to vaping has been worrying. A survey by the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) indicated that the population of e-cigarette users in junior high schools grew from 1.9% in 2018 to 3.9% in 2021, while that in senior high and vocational schools rose from 3.4% to 8.8% during the same period.
Novelty designs and various flavors appear to be part of the reasons driving up the popularity of vaping products among the young. This can be harmful to health as 90% of such products are found to contain nicotine, said HPA.