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October 21, 2021

Hong Kong Prohibits Sales of Vaping Products

Hong Kong has finally banned the sale of vaping products—more than five years after a ban was first proposed. The law passed the Legislative Council Thursday by a 32-3 margin, according to the South China Morning Post.

The Hong Kong law makes it illegal to sell, manufacture, import or promote vaping and heated tobacco products. It does not criminalize personal use. It’s unclear how the ban will affect vaping manufacturers that ship products from Hong Kong ports.

Hong Kong lies just a few miles south of Shenzhen, China—the vaping production capital of the world. Many of the vaping products produced in Shenzhen are transported into Hong Kong and exported to other countries through the ports and shipping facilities in Hong Kong.

Like most vaping product bans, the one that passed in Hong Kong was heavily promoted by public health and medical organizations as a measure to protect children. Groups like the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health (COSH) lobby aggressively for prohibition of low-risk nicotine products.

A similar bill, supported by Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, was introduced in 2018, and finally abandoned by the council last summer without a vote. Almost immediately after its failure, tobacco control groups began campaigning for a new law banning vapes to be introduced.

The bill that was discarded by the Legislative Council would have banned the sales, manufacture, importation, distribution, or promotion of vapor and HTP products, and set penalties of up to six months in jail and a fine of 50,000 Hong Kong dollars (more than $6,000 U.S.) for violators. We haven’t reviewed the new bill, but believe it is very similar.

Hong Kong is a semi-autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. It has a population of 7.4 million people living in an area of about 400 square miles, and a high standard of living. In recent years, China has moved to assume tighter control of Hong Kong.

Smokers created vaping without any help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and vapers have the right to keep innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I recently joined the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy
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