Legislators in Hong Kong have pulled a U-turn on their treatment of vaping, with a recent announcement stating they will work to ban vaping entirely
Vaping bans are becoming all too common around the world. What’s worse is that almost every country with a vaping ban has done next to nothing to limit the number of cigarettes sold there. In America, depending on which state you live in, you may already be faced with public vaping bans nearly everywhere. But things are a lot worse for vapers in other countries. Australia, for example, has long held an extremely strict stance on vaping, nearly banning the products outright.
Unfortunately, it seems that another influential center is looking to ban vaping products for all their citizens. Word began to spread around Hong Kong earlier this week that they would begin the process of prohibiting the sale, use, possession, and manufacture of e-cigarettes throughout the territory. Sadly, it seems now that Hong Kong will join the list of countries that are supporting the tobacco industry by undermining vaping.
Change Of Course
According to the South China Morning Post, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced the government’s plan to ban e-cigarettes during her policy address earlier today. According to the Post, both e-liquid vaping and heat-not-burn devices are set to become prohibited, along with herbal cigarettes. Until recently the government of Hong Kong had treated vaping products the same as cigarettes, banning their use below a certain age and regulating where they can be used. But this move sets up yet another fight over suppressing adults from vaping while continuing to allow cigarettes.
Making matters worse is that many had been optimistic about the course of vaping regulation in Hong Kong after a similar proposal was shot down last June. But according to the Post, Lam is still actively pursuing this course of action. Her address was kept short, but an accompanying document further details their plan moving forward. Instead of taking the sensible course of public education and adequate regulation for vaping, Hong Kong is instead choosing to give a distinct advantage to the Big Tobacco companies that pray for an end to e-cigarettes.
Concerns Over Teenage Use
One of the primary concerns behind this policy change is the growing issue of teenage vaping. According to a survey conducted by the Committee on Home-School Co-operation and the Federations of Parent-Teacher Associations, many parents fear their kids picking up a vaporizer. A full 82% of the 3,374 parents surveyed supported or called for a total ban, while 60% believed vaping could potentially lead their child to start smoking real cigarettes. Apparently many concerns surrounding vaping need to be addressed, luckily we already have some evidence shedding light.
For starters, we have every reason to believe that vaping is dramatically safer than smoking. In fact, research published by Public Health England concluded vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking. But in regards to teenage use, it seems that concerns may be overblown. A study of over 60,000 students between 11-16 found that only between 0.1% and 0.5% of non-smoking teens ever pick up vaping on a regular basis. Meaning that even fewer are ever falling into a life of smoking because of vaping. We also know that vaping is likely the best smoking cessation tool we have, suggesting that many teens may be utilizing them as a way to help stop smoking, just like adults.
Regardless of where you stand on the vaping debate, you have to admit that banning vaping while allowing cigarettes to be sold is only benefiting Big Tobacco companies. We have decades of indisputable evidence that clearly connects smoking with many life-threatening conditions. So we must then ask ourselves why any governments are willing to continue to allow smoking while placing outright bans on something proven 95% safer and able to help people quit? If we ever hope to live in a world where smoking isn’t the number one cause of preventable death and disease around the world, we must utilize our best tools, not undermine them.
Are you surprised by this move in Hong Kong? Do you think it sets a dangerous precedent when countries ban vaping but not smoking? How can we best spread the benefits of vaping to a broader audience? 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.