Taiwan is strengthening its ban on e-cigarettes, and lawmakers claim the ban will protect teenagers from smoking.
The logic may be faulty, but the political leaders of the former Chinese province (which China still considers part of China) are sticking with it. Officials claim the ban will “lower smoking rates,” according to the Taipei Times.
The Executive Yuan (the leadership of the executive branch) is going to submit an amendment to the country’s Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act, and send it to the legislature. The new law will ban the manufacture, sale, importation, and advertising of vapor products.
Vapor products are already theoretically banned — by order of the Ministry of Health. But the new law codifies the ban and provides defined punishments for infractions. The penalty for manufacturing or importing vapes will be set at NT$50,000 to NT$250,000 ($1650-8250 in U.S. dollars). Sales and use in non-smoking areas would be punished by a fine of NT$10,000 to NT$50,000 ($330-1650 USD), a government spokesperson told the Times.
“It is estimated that between 60,000 and 70,000 junior and senior-high school students in Taiwan have used e-cigarettes,” said a Cabinet spokesperson. “Teenagers who have used them are six times more likely to smoke regular cigarettes, so the government must ban e-cigarettes to protect teenagers’ health.”
The assertion that teens who vape are more likely to smoke has never been proven, but it is often repeated. Cabinet spokesperson Chang Hsiu-chen noted that the World Health Organization has encouraged restrictions on vaping products — which is true.
The WHO has consistently opposed vaping and e-cigarettes since 2008, making the agency the first quasi-governmental organization to do so. Many countries attempt to curry favor with — and funding from — the prohibitionist public health agency by implementing the WHO’s advice.