Ban on E-cigarettes and Smoking While Queuing in Hong Kong

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    In a significant move to further reduce the smoking rate in Hong Kong, the government has announced a series of stringent smoking control measures. Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau, along with other key officials, outlined these measures during a press conference.

    Comprehensive Ban on Alternative Tobacco Products

    • Products Affected: E-cigarettes, heated tobacco products, and herbal cigarettes.
    • Legal Implications: Mere possession of these products will be illegal, marking a significant shift from previous regulations which only criminalized commercial activities related to these products.

    Impact on Smokers

    The ban on alternative tobacco products will affect many users who have turned to these products as a means to quit smoking traditional cigarettes. The enforcement of such a ban will necessitate a return to traditional tobacco products for some, despite the health risks associated with smoking conventional cigarettes.

    Smoking Prohibited While Queuing

    Smoking will be banned while queuing, addressing concerns about secondhand smoke exposure in crowded areas.

    The ban on smoking while queuing has been met with mixed reactions. While many support the measure for its public health benefits, others are concerned about the practicality and enforcement of such a regulation.

    Protecting Minors

    • Ban on Sharing Cigarettes: Prohibition of sharing cigarettes with individuals under 18 years old.
    • Regulation of Flavored Tobacco Products: New rules to limit the appeal of tobacco products to minors.

    These measures aim to reduce the exposure and accessibility of tobacco products to minors, thereby lowering youth smoking rates and preventing the initiation of smoking habits at a young age.

    Previous Legislation

    Since April 30, 2022, the Hong Kong government has banned the import, promotion, manufacture, sale, or possession of e-cigarettes and similar products for commercial purposes. The new measures build on this foundation, moving towards a more comprehensive approach.

    Public Opinion

    • Health Advocates: Members of the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health, such as Cheung Wing-bong, support the measures for their potential to increase awareness of smoking’s health risks.
    • Retail Sector Concerns: Legislative Council member Shiu Ka-fai and others in the wholesale and retail sectors worry about the impact on personal choice and Hong Kong’s international reputation.
    • Personal Accounts: Smokers like Lam Tsz yeung express concerns about the ban forcing them to revert to traditional cigarettes, which they see as a step back from their progress in quitting smoking.


    What products are included in the comprehensive ban on alternative tobacco products?

    The ban includes e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products, and herbal cigarettes.

    Will merely possessing these products be illegal under the new regulations?

    Yes, merely possessing these products will be illegal.

    Why is smoking being prohibited while queuing?

    The prohibition aims to reduce secondhand smoke exposure in crowded areas, protecting public health.

    How will the tobacco product tax stamp system work?

    The system will distinguish legal from illegal cigarettes, helping to control the market and enforce regulations.

    What measures are being taken to protect minors from smoking?

    The government will ban sharing cigarettes with minors and regulate flavored tobacco products to reduce their appeal to young people.

    What should smokers do if they currently use e-cigarettes or other banned products?

    Smokers are advised to comply with the new regulations and seek alternative methods for quitting smoking, such as traditional cessation programs.