Hong Kong has changed their mind on vaping and is now looking into full bans of e-cigarettes
It’s discouraging to see how common it’s become for a government to decide to ban vaping. What is even more disheartening is that the majority of those countries have not set limitations on the sale of combustible cigarettes. In the United States, you can be faced with public vaping bans of varying degrees, depending on which state you are in, while in other countries, like Austria for example, there are much stricter laws, akin with practically banning the product outright.
It looks at this time that yet another outright ban may be soon enacted in a very prominent place. Word has begun to spread that Hong Kong may start the process of prohibiting the sale, usage, possession, and manufacturing of vaporizers throughout their territory. So it seems that now Hong Kong is yet another country supporting the tobacco industry by choosing to ban e-cigarettes.
It was the South China Morning post that first reported the announcement, made by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor during a policy address. The Post says that e-liquid and heat-not-burn devices, as well as herbal cigarettes, will become prohibited Before this the government of Hong Kong had treated vaporizers in the same way as cigarettes, with regulations on age and restrictions about where you could use them. This decision once again pits vapers against the law while legislators continue to accept the sale of cigarettes.
Many are surprised as they had been optimistic about the future of vaping in Hong Kong as a similar proposal was rejected as recently as June. Lam is still, however, continuing to pursue this course. While her address on the subject was brief, a document with details about how the plan will be enacted was released. While many would think the sensible route would be public education and appropriate regulations, Hong Kong has instead played into the hands of Big Tobacco, setting them up more profit.
A big push behind this change in policy is the issue of teen vaping. According to a survey by the Committee on Home-School Co-operation and the Federation of Parent-Teacher Associations, a lot of parents now fear their child picking up vaping. 82% of the over 3,300 parents surveyed supported a total ban. 60% believed that vaping would lead to their child turning to cigarettes. Unfortunately, a lot of this fear comes from the masses of misinformation steadily spread about vaping.
Of the scientific studies done on vaporizers, the majority of them have found results that prove vaping’s benefit to smokers. For example, Public Health England found vaping to be at least 95% safer than smoking. The concerns about teens vaping also appears to be somewhat exaggerated, as a study which surveyed over 60,000 students aged 11-16 found that only 0.1%-0.5% of non-smoking teens ever take up vaping. Meaning the number of these students who eventually take up smoking is practically non-existent. Vaping is the best and most effective smoking cessation tool that has ever been created, and these results suggest the few teens who do take up vaping are likely doing it with the intention to quit smoking.
No matter your stance on vaping, you must acknowledge that banning vaping while legally continuing the sale of tobacco products only serves to put people at more risk, while benefiting Big Tobacco. There is nearly a century of evidence which proves smoking is dangerous. In fact, smoking is still the number one cause of preventable deaths in the world. Why then are some governments willing to let smoking continue, while discouraging the safer alternative of vaping? If there is any chance to stop tobacco, then legislatures should honestly consider supporting the best tool we have, not undermining them.
Do you think this policy shift is a big deal for vapers? Should countries be banning vaping while allowing smoking? What’s the best way to teach more people about the benefits of vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.