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End of vaping in Hong Kong? Government plans to ban import and sale of e-cigarettes

A bill banning the import and sale of electronic cigarettes will be submitted to the Legislative Council in the next legislative session, a lawmaker revealed after meeting a top health official.

Kwok Wai-keung of the Federation of Trade Unions said the plan was confirmed during a meeting with the Undersecretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee, on Thursday.

Hong Kong still plans e-cigarette ban despite new UK study claiming they’re 95% less harmful than tobacco

That came after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced in his January policy address that the government would consider regulating e-cigarettes through legislation.

Before a ban comes into effect, officials said they would continue to educate the public on the harm of e-cigarettes, conduct tests and studies, monitor international regulatory developments and study legislative frameworks for a ban.

Kwok said the government should announce a list of e-cigarette products which had been inspected and found to contain harmful substances.

“The regulation of e-cigarettes is now imminent. Officials should draft a direction plan and list out short, mid and long-term measures,” Kwok said.

A million times more harmful than outdoor air: Hong Kong study raises e-cigarette cancer alarm

E-cigarettes can be purchased easily by primary and secondary school students in local shopping malls. A six-year-old girl was once spotted by the local media in Sham Shui Po inhaling a fruit-flavoured e-cigarette like an experienced smoker.

A study conducted by the University of Hong Kong between October 2014 and April last year found that 2.6 per cent of primary pupils and 9 per cent of secondary students had tried e-cigarettes.

While the harm of e-cigarettes remains unclear and some argue that the products could be used to help people quit, a Baptist University study revealed that the 13 e-cigarette samples it collected contained nicotine and cancer-causing substances.

But the Asian Vape Association, a group promoting the use of e-cigarettes, urged regulation rather than a total ban, claiming that complete prohibition would create a more active black market.

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