facing proposed penalties of HK$50,000 and 6-months jail. The draft law states that anyone who imports, manufactures, sells, distributes, possesses or promotes alternative smoking products, including e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn products and herbal cigarettes, will be conducted at the legislature next Wednesday. Oddly enough there is no mention of eLiquids, but that may be covered in the broadly and loosely defined "alternative smoking product" section.
In her policy address last October, Chief Executive Lam proposed a total ban on e-cigarettes, following the government’s previous plan to regulate e-cigarettes.
Curiously enough Deputy Secretary for Food and Health Amy Yuen said at a press conference on Wednesday that the draft law did not intend to criminalize those who use alternative smoking products.
“We hope that, through the ban on import, sale and manufacture, these products will not be so easily available on the market. It will be an effective means to prevent most people from exposure to these products.” she said, continuing; “It may not be feasible if we ban the use of these products. We also don’t want to disturb people too much." Which is an odd paradoxical statement to make if you consider a ban on something people freely choose to purchase to be considered not disturbing people.
Amy Yuen also stated "We have to stop them from being available everywhere,” which makes it seem like the ban is intending to remove a product that appears to be a nuisance as it has become ubiquitous. “For users of these new products, the answer is not to go back to conventional smoking products. This is not what we are trying to do. We want them to quit altogether.” Amy stated. Which only begs the question, why in the heck are you banning the most successful smoking cessation technology then?
When asked why the government did not choose to outright ban cigarettes, Yuen said they have already taken root in society and the move would not be feasible. Talk about a defeatist attitude! It should also be noted that there's potential for political corruption at play, as all of the largest brands of cigarettes in China are produced and sold in China.
Yuen said the government was inclined to adopt a measure in Singapore whereby tourists can surrender their alternative smoking products at the airport for a short time after the law is passed. Tourists will not be committing an offence if they give up their products. Which is good, because there's nothing like giving money to other countries through tourism and finding out you're committing a crime by possessing technology.
Officers at the Department of Health will need a court order to enforce the law in non-public areas. The law will not be enforced at private residences. Those who already own alternative smoking products will also not violate the law. Cargo, or those who have such products moving through Hong Kong will be exempted.
All of those exemptions make it seem like this isn't so much a crackdown of vaping in china, as there are plenty of places you can posses them, but rather to prevent the devices themselves from being sold by every vendor as some kind of side gimmick item. I wonder if they'll ban fidget spinners too?