The Macau Legislative Assembly today approved the first draft of a bill that will, if passed, ban sales of all vaping products in the wealthy Chinese semi-autonomous region. The proposed law would prohibit manufacture, distribution, sale, import, export, and transport in and out of Macau.
The Macau Executive Council announced in January that it planned to propose a sales ban this year. On May 27, the government presented its draft bill, which includes proposed fines of 4,000 Macanese pataca (MOP) (about $500 U.S.) for individual offenders, and fines from 20,000-200,000 MOP ($2,500-25,000) for businesses.
The draft bill does not (yet) prohibit personal use or possession, but the ban on import and transport from China would make acquiring products impossible without breaking the law.
During today’s debate of the bill, some members of the Legislative Assembly said the government should extend the ban to cover not just commerce, but also individual possession, according to Macau Business. Other assembly deputies were rightfully worried that the proposed law would encourage smuggling.
The bill will now be assigned to legislative committees before returning to the full Legislative Assembly for final debate and passage.
Macau is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, located at the western edge of the Pearl River estuary—about 40 miles by air or boat from Hong Kong (also a Chinese SAR) to the east. Macau is a major resort city with one of the world’s largest gambling industries. The city has 680,000 residents living on just 12.7 square miles of land.
Macau’s neighbor Hong Kong passed a ban on vape sales last October. The law took effect April 30, as vapers scrambled to stock up on products and the government boasted of arrests and product seizures.
Many other Asian countries have passed similar outright vape bans. China itself has chosen to regulate vape sales—a process that began last November when control of the country’s massive vaping product industry was handed to the state-owned tobacco monopoly administration.