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Vaping Ban

Slovenia adopts plain packaging

Congratulations to SFP Coalition Partners No excuse Slovenia and Slovenian Coalition for Public Health, Environment and Tobacco Control for their tireless advocacy to support this legislation in the last year.

On 15 February the Slovenian Parliament adopted the draft law proposed by the government without a single vote against. Plain packaging is expected to enter into force in 2020.

Briefly, the new Slovenian Tobacco law includes:

– Plain packaging (65% coverage with health warnings and quitting information)
– Introduction of license for selling tobacco products,
– Total display and Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) ban
– Prohibition of selling tobacco products with aromas and other additives
– Prohibition of smoking in cars with a minor present
– Prohibition of smoking indoors including E-cigarettes
– Mystery shopping/test purchasing by underage,
– Measures of prevention of illicit trade

State’s High Court Rules NYC Tobacco Laws Apply to E-Cigarettes

Vapers will have to follow the same laws as smokers following a ruling by the State Supreme Court.

The court dismissed a lawsuit filed by a smoker’s rights group to overturn the city’s ban on electronic cigarettes in the same places where traditional cigarettes are banned.

The devices do not use tobacco, but instead use a liquid containing nicotine and other ingredients that users inhale as vapor.

Supporters of e-cigarettes say the devices help more smokers away from tobacco, and that the ban will make their lives more difficult.

But anti-smoking activists say e-cigarettes can actually lead young people toward using tobacco.

Total smoking, e-cigarette ban in all public places: HPA

HPA announces law to expand ban on smoking to all bars, nightclubs, cigar lounges, including e-cigarettes

The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) announced today a proposed law to expand the recent ban on smoking in public places to bars, nightclubs, cigar lounges, and this will include e-cigarettes with violators subject to a fine of up to NT$10,000 (US$312).

Under the current regulations, smoking is banned in public places. However, there is an exception to this law for hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and other indoor public spaces that have independent air conditioning systems or rooms that have been partitioned for smoking, as well as cigar lounges and bars after 9 p.m.

Lo Su- ying (羅素英), head of the HPA’s Health Education and Tobacco Control Division, told CNA today that the proposed amendment to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act to remove smoking rooms will not only apply to bars, nightclubs and cigar lounges, but also electronic cigarettes a will be included, with the devices banned from public areas and not to be sold to those under 18 years of age.

Lo explained that studies have found that designated smoking rooms cannot effectively eliminate the release of second-hand smoke. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) has found that there is “no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke,” therefore the government plans to require 100 percent smoke-free environments in all indoor workplaces and indoor public places.

As for e-cigarettes, Lo said the draft of the law states electronic devices that release smoke that contain nicotine, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, or other substances harmful to human health are to be banned.

Lo pointed out that e-cigarettes are a growing global health hazard and out of fear that minors will be exposed to such products, these devices will be banned in public places and no one will be allowed to advertise or supply electronic cigarettes to people under the age of 18.

The HPA announced that the draft will have a 60-day preview period during which members from all walks of life of the public can put forth their suggestions to the Executive Yuan and the Legislative Yuan to consider. Once the measure passes, smoking of cigarettes and e-cigarettes will be banned in all public places, and violators will be subject to a fine of up to NT$10,000.

On Jan.1 , a complete ban on smoking at bus stops was instituted for 1,150 waiting areas at 932 bus stops in Taipei City, with violators subject to a maximum fine of NT$10,000 (US$314).

Austrian Families Minister wants smoking ban for under-18s

Austria’s Minister for Families, Sophie Karmasin, wants to ban smoking for young people under the age of 18. Currently, smoking is legal in Austria from the age of 16.

Austria has one of the highest rates of smoking among teenagers and young adults in Europe, with 52 percent of men aged 18 to 28 smoking, and 34 percent of women.

Only Greeks, Bulgarians and Latvians smoke more than Austrians, according to a 2012 Eurobarometer study.

Austria is one of the last countries to allow smoking from the age of 16. Karmasin told the Austria Press Agency that she has already been in talks with Austria’s provincial governors on changing the law as part of the Youth Protection Act.

A survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that 27 percent of Austrian 15-year-olds smoke at least once a week, more frequently than any other children in the OECD area – something Karmasin said was “unacceptable”.

She said that a ban on smoking for under-18s would send an important signal, although she didn’t elaborate on what the consequences would be for those who break the law.

Austria is one of the countries in western Europe where cigarettes are cheapest. The country has a deeply entrenched smoking culture, and a general ban on smoking in cafes and restaurants doesn’t come into force until May 2018. Meanwhile, there is a ban on vaping products for people under 18.

Karmasin tried to bring in a smoking ban for under-18s two years ago, but it was shot down by Vice Chancellor and ÖVP head Reinhold Mitterlehner. He said such a measure was “not necessary”. However, Karmasin is optimistic that she can get the backing for a ban this year, and said that the “health argument” trumps all others.

HKU researchers call for total ban on e-cigarettes

Researchers at the University of Hong Kong called for a total ban on the sale of electronic or e-cigarettes on Thursday, warning that they pose a very dangerous health risk, and may entice young children to start smoking.

They interviewed 469 smokers under 25 who had called the university’s smoking cessation hotline, and found children as young as 12 had tried e-cigarettes.

The researchers said e-cigarettes “tend to attract young people much more than adults, and there is actually strong evidence – not from Hong Kong yet, but from other countries – that many non-smoking young people started with e-cigarettes before becoming regular conventional cigarette smokers”.

WHO advises UK to ban vaping in public spaces

The UK, a country renowned for leading the way in endorsing vaping products as smoking cessation tools, and achieving a great outcome as a result, is told by the WHO to reconsider its position instead of being given a well deserved pat on the back.

After Public Health England had released a scientific report which found vaping to be at least 95% safer than smoking, the United Kingdom has been promoting vaping products as healthier alternatives to tobacco cigarettes, and offering them as smoking cessation tools. Since vaping mimics the action of smoking, it has been found that e-cigarettes are the preferred Nicotine Replacement Therapy of smokers.

This has resulted in the UK reporting the lowest numbers of smokers ever recorded, with a recent study finding that 18,000 smokers have given up smoking in the UK thanks to the devices. In line with this Public Health England has issued reports saying that public spaces should have designated vaping spaces, so that vapers are not forced to vape in smoking areas, and their efforts to quit cigarettes are not compromised.

WHO ignores evidence about e-cigarettes

But according to an article published by the Daily Mail, instead of commending the country’s efforts, the World Health Organization has issued an advice to ban the products from public spaces. This plea was issued right before the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, (FCTC), taking place this week in Delhi, India, hence heated discussions related to the matter are to be expected at the convention.

The real concern is that smokers increasingly believe the inaccurate reports that vaping is as dangerous as smoking and are more likely to continue to smoke.
Professor Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England
Amongst the points mentioned by the WHO was the infamous ‘gateway’ theory on how youths may be lured into vaping with the candy flavoured e-liquids to then end up hooked on Nicotine and eventually start smoking, a theory that has been proven unsound from several studies. Another point was mentioned how certain metals such as chromium found in e-liquid vapor can supposedly cause more harm than the smoke emitted from tobacco cigarettes.

UK to keep proceeding towards harm reduction

In reply to the WHO’s plea, Professor Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, said that the PHE will continue to monitor the evidence, adding: “The evidence remains clear, with PHE’s most recent review and the Royal College of Physicians both finding that while not completely risk-free, vaping carries a fraction of the risk of smoking – around 95% less harmful”, and concluded by stating “The real concern is that smokers increasingly believe the inaccurate reports that vaping is as dangerous as smoking and are more likely to continue to smoke.”

Ban e-cigarettes from public places, say world health chiefs

Britain is told to outlaw the increasingly popular vaping devices from schools, hospitals and buses amid health concerns

• The WHO is calling for countries to look at a ban due to ‘passive vaping’
• It has been linked to lung damage, heart complications and stillbirths
• Move echoes call from the BMA, which said e-cigarettes should be banned
• WHO’s stance will be controversial among many, including British medics

Britain is being asked by the world’s leading health watchdogs to consider banning electronic cigarettes from public places.

Countries could ban e-cigarettes from all public places where smoking is not allowed, a World Health Organisation report says.

Such a ban would outlaw the increasingly popular vaping devices from schools, hospitals and public transport in the same way as tobacco.

The WHO is calling on countries to look at this because of the dangers of ‘passive vaping’, which growing evidence has linked to lung damage, heart complications and stillbirth in pregnant women.

The move echoes calls from the BMA, which says e-cigarettes should be banned from pubs and restaurants because of just such dangers. The WHO is also supporting potential cigarette-style health warnings about the chemicals e-cigarettes include and information on the danger of addiction.

Its advice, issued before a major meeting on tobacco control in India next week, is expected to stoke a row between health experts.

There is some evidence linking e-cigarettes to cancer and fears they act as a gateway to smoking tobacco.

But British doctors are already using e-cigarettes to help people quit tobacco, with support from Public Health England, if the devices are licensed, to prescribe them on the NHS.

The WHO’s report sums up the latest scientific evidence ahead of next week’s meeting of 180 countries signed up to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Dr Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, head of the WHO convention secretariat, said: ‘So far there is a clear understanding that e-cigarettes should be regulated. They should not be promoted among young people and pregnant women and other specific groups. They should not be promoted widely – there should be restrictions and regulations.’

The WHO’s stance will be controversial among those – including British medics – who see e-cigarettes as helpful in getting smokers to quit.

A recent study found around 18,000 people in England last year may have given up cigarettes by vaping, which provides nicotine without the tobacco linked to lung cancer.

But the WHO says this is undermined by the number of young people being ‘recruited’ into nicotine dependency by taking up e-cigarettes. It suggests countries consider banning the flavouring of e-cigarettes whose bubblegum and fruit varieties have raised concerns they may be appealing to children. It also says they should not be sold or advertised to young people.

The WHO also highlights health fears over liquid nicotine vapour. It says metals, including lead, chromium and nickel, have been found in e-cigarettes at higher levels than ordinary cigarettes, while nicotine itself may act as a ‘tumour promoter’ in people with cancer, or cause heart disease.

But Professor Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, said it will continue to monitor the evidence.

He added: ‘The evidence remains clear, with PHE’s most recent review and the Royal College of Physicians both finding that while not completely risk-free, vaping carries a fraction of the risk of smoking – around 95% less harmful.

‘The real concern is that smokers increasingly believe the inaccurate reports that vaping is as dangerous as smoking and are more likely to continue to smoke.’

Market expert: Regulating e-cigarette “a one-way direction”

The Hong Kong government has been urged to reconsider its plan to ban e-cigarettes as they can be a much less harmful alternative to tobacco cigarettes in nicotine delivery – if regulated properly.

Dr Stephen Jenkins, director in regulatory and medical affairs of Nicoventures in the Asia-Pacific region, is in Hong Kong reaching out to lawmakers to garner support for e-cigarette regulation instead of a total ban. Earlier in June, legislator Kwok Wai-keung (郭偉強) of the Federation of Trade Unions revealed that the current administration will propose banning the imports and sale of e-cigarettes in the 2016/2017 LegCo term.

Dr Jenkins stresses that e-cigarette, without tar and the process of combustion, is 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes and is the most frequently used device to quit smoking, citing much-quoted reports from Public Health England and Royal College of Physicians. He also notes that Canada and New Zealand have recently announced that they will move to regulate e-cigarette, and there is a review undergoing in Australia. The World Health Organisation has also taken a step back by taking out complete ban as a recommended policy option in its latest report on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems and Electronic Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS/ENNDS) for the seventh session of the COP (COP7). A more concrete stance from the influential health body is expected after COP7 which will be held in November.

“Our view is electronic cigarettes, as they are in Europe, should have dedicated regulation to ensure that they are available to smokers and not sold to under 18s, with quality standards in place to ensure that the devices and liquids are reliable,” Dr Jenkins puts. “The data and the experience globally is clearly in one direction: that they should be available and they should be regulated. […] I am very happy to have an open discussion with the [Hong Kong] government and be challenged on the evidence.”

Other countries in Asia that already have regulation in place, or are looking into introducing one include South Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia.


Nicoventures is a company set up in 2010 by British American Tobacco (BAT) which focuses on the development and commercialisation of non-tobacco nicotine products. The company has made written submissions to the LegCo’s Panel on Health Services back in June last year and to Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man (高永文) in early 2016. It has also requested a meeting between Dr Jenkins and government representatives but the invitation was turned down by the government. In response, the Food and Health Bureau stated that it has received submissions from various groups supporting its legislative proposal and the tobacco trade, and that it is in the process of studying the submissions.

Under the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Chapter 138), nicotine is a Part I poison in Hong Kong and that e-cigarette containing nicotine is regarded as pharmaceutical product and must be registered with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board before sale or distribution. E-cigarette without nicotine is however unregulated under current laws.

“I hope that the government can present more justifications before presenting its proposal of a total ban in front of the LegCo,” Kwon Wai-keung earlier told Harbour Times. “In the meantime there should be amendments to the Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance to keep e-cigarettes away from the minors.”

As Dr Jenkins adds, studies in the UK and Europe have already dismissed the ‘gateway theory’ as less than 1% of e-cigarette users, or vapers, being non-smokers. One study sampling 27,460 EU citizens shows 1.3% of never smokers used nicotine-containing e-cigarettes, with 0.09% reporting daily nicotine use. The report also notes over one-third of current e-cigarette users polled reported smoking cessation and reduction. He warns that a complete ban will only lead to the emergence of a black market flooded with low quality products.

“Even with a ban in place, e-cigarette devices will remain easily accessible to Hong Kong people as more than 90% of them are produced in Shenzhen,” Dr Jenkins argues. “So what we need to do is to ensure that those products coming into Hong Kong are reliable and traceable.”

“From a health policy perspective, [e-cigarette] is quite unique. The speed of change globally around this area is outstanding. People are making choices and looking for the government to help them. This bottom-up approach is encouraging countries to look at the data and opt for regulation,” Dr Jenkins asserts. “I never think it’s too late. The evidence is so strong that I’m sure as soon as people are aware of it, they will have to consider it.”

Enact Total Ban on E-Cigarettes and Enlargement of Pictorial Health Warnings Promptly

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On the contrary: ‘I was a smoker, and will always be a smoker’

The real issues are not covered by the media and the health departments across countries.

States in this country may be queuing up to ban e-cigarettes that are now thought to be as harmful as regular cigarettes, but founder of, Mr Heneage (H) Mitchell believes the ban is illogical and not in the interest of smokers at all.

“Who has come up with these guidelines? The health departments have their own agenda and so do the pharmaceutical companies, who finance the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. It is completely against WHO’s democratic principles. The pharmaceuticals are just anxious to protect their own smoking cessation market,” he asserted in a chat with Deccan Chronicle, declaring, “I was a smoker and am still a smoker.”

Based on his almost 15 years as a leading commentator on the tobacco industry across Asia, he believes the regulations are consumer un-friendly and ignore their best interests. Having spent over a decade as managing editor and co-publisher of a leading publication of the region’s tobacco industry, he has witnessed first-hand the enormous changes sweeping the tobacco regulatory environment throughout Asia and deplores what he describes as a ” constant erosion of smokers’ rights and freedoms.”

The real issues are not covered by the media and the health departments across countries. I realised that the justifications for many of the regulations do not stand up to scrutiny.

A harmless alternative to smoking such as the e-cigarette has to face the same regulatory nightmares, which are thrown at the tobacco industry,” he lamented.

Calling the restrictions on consumer access to less harmful alternatives to smoking of conventional tobacco products as “highly alarming,” he stresses that the health departments are misguided.

“But e-cigarette should be subjected to stringent manufacturing standards and that is where the emphasis should be. Banning is not the answer. Vaping is an extraordinary alternative for smokers, who are addicted. Vaping works,” he emphasised, arguing that the ban was not based on fact but ” on the hatred for tobacco products.”

“It is illogical. False opinion is being presented as fact. In fact, they are an effective gateway away from smoking for users, who vape essentially harmless, but addictive nicotine and also wish to avoid the deadly carcinogens, tar and more than 3,000 other dangerous components found in tobacco smoke that leads to the early death of at least 50 per cent of smokers. Independent, peer-reviewed evidence from around the world, particularly from the UK and the EU, where a great deal of effort and time has been invested in researching vaping, clearly shows e-cigarettes to be 95 to 99 per cent safer than conventional tobacco products,” he maintained.

He went on to point out that, “Bodies such as the UK Royal College of Physicians, Public Health England, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), British Lung Foundation, Cancer Research UK, and the Royal Society for Public Health are all espousing the use of e-cigarettes as a viable and desirable alternative to smoking and are recommending vape products to users of conventional tobacco products to wean them away from the deadly risks associated with smoking.”

“The health departments have essentially bought into the line that e- cigarettes are just as harmful as any tobacco product, but where is the evidence? You cannot impose an irrational policy on which the lives of millions of smokers depend.”