E-cigarettes will probably be banned by 2018 in Hong-Kong. But there is a raging debate taking place between opponents, advocates and current users of e-cigarettes. Nicotine is considered as a poison in Hong-Kong. And the purchase, sale or detention of nicotine containing products is already punishable by fines or prison time.
Vaping advocates are underlining the harmlessness of e-cigarettes. A study published by Public Health England concluded in 2015 that e-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than tobacco cigarettes. And their concentration in carcinogenic products is close to 0. Last year, the Royal College of the Physicians in London validated the use of e-cigarettes as smoking substitue. And in 2017, the British Ministry of Health indicated that people can vape on their workplace.
Ray Story, the president of the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association wishes countries to grant their citizens the right to chose between traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes. According to him, the tobacco manufacturers are putting pressure on governments to ban e-cigarette sales, hoping to avoid turnover losses. And Hong-Kong is under the influence of China. China is the largest tobacco consumer in the world but also the most important tobacco producer. In China, to avoid the development of the vaping market, every person caught with an electronic cigarette risks 2 years of prison and close to a 13 000 euro fine.
However, opponents to the e-cigarette say that not everybody agrees on vaping. The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed some reservations concerning the e-cigarette sales to young people. Actually, more than 8 000 different flavors are sold today and governments fear that fruity and tangy flavors might appeal to the youth and have them start vaping. Indeed, figures show that vaping is on the rise among the youth and the number of young consumers has doubled between 2008 and 2012. But, despite what some opponents might say, electronic cigarettes are not a gateway to nicotine addiction and to teen smoking.
In Hong-Kong, vapers worry about the regulation
In Hong-Kong, vapers are starting to worry about tighter regulations. As explained in an article from the South China Morning Post, Peter King, aged 62, started smoking when he was 11 years old. His daily use had reached 2 cigarette packs per day when one of his friends convinced him to try vaping. Since then, the sexagenarian is more than happy with his decision.
His health improved which materialized by an easier breathing, more energy and an improved sense of smell. As for the financial aspect, vaping has enabled him to make substantial savings of around 3 500 à 3 800 Hk$ (between 380 et 415€). But King fully supports the vaping products sales ban to minors of less than 18 years old. According to him, e-cigarettes should be used only to help people stop smoking as nicotine substitutes.