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Policy Hong Kong Drops Plans to Ban Vape Sales

The Hong Kong Legislative Council has dropped plans to ban vaping products—at least for now. Vaping and harm reduction advocates have been fighting the proposed ban since it was announced more than 19 months ago in a speech by Hong Kong’s chief executive.

The Bills Committee on Smoking of the Legislative Council ended discussions over the bill to ban e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTPs, also known as heat-not-burn products) last week. The committee had been working on the bill since March 2019, holding six meetings and three public hearings, according to the Manila Standard.

Some Legislative Council members on the committee strongly opposed the ban, citing the injustice of denying low-risk nicotine products to people who smoke. “Legislators such as Peter Shui, Raymond Chan and Cheng Chunt-tai, have repeatedly argued that a ban was neither logical nor feasible,” said Nancy Loucas, executive coordinator of Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates, a regional consumer advocacy organization.

The head of the Hong Kong Tobacco and Alcohol Control Office, Dr. Fung Ying, told the South China Morning Post that the government would introduce another bill to ban vapes in the next legislative session. “At the present stage, our most urgent task is public education about the risks of heated tobacco products and to guard against the misleading claim that they bring a lower risk and observe the trend,” Fung told the paper.

Vapesourcing Opinion: 

Let's hope this is the beginning of a shift towards more positive policies in the region that embrace Tobacco Harm Reduction as a legitimate pillar of public health.
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