Taiwan Bans Vape Sales and Personal Use

Taiwan’s national legislature (Legislative Yuan) banned e-cigarettes yesterday, passing the third reading of a series of amendments to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act. The new laws were first proposed last year by the country’s cabinet (Executive Yuan).

Vaping products, classified as “tobacco-like products,” will be strictly prohibited, including sale, manufacture, promotion, import, and even personal use. The amendments will take effect a month after their publication by the government.

The new law provides steep fines for illegal sales, ranging from 10-50 million New Taiwan Dollars (NT), according to the Taipei Times. (Equivalent to about $330,000 to $1.65 million U.S.) Individuals caught vaping face fines of NT2,000-10,000 ($66-330 U.S.).

The legislature did not ban heated tobacco products (HTPs), but tightened regulations on them, making it more difficult for manufacturers to obtain approval for sale. Tax rates on non-combustible tobacco products were also increased, and the legislature banned flavored tobacco products (including cigarettes), and increased the age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 20.

Outright vape bans are common in Asia, where governments often slavishly follow the recommendations of the World Health Organization and its Bloomberg Philanthropies-funded allies.

Taiwan, officially called the Republic of China (ROC), is an island nation 100 miles off the east coast of the mainland People’s Republic of China (PRC). Taiwan has a population of about 24 million, of which about 19 percent of adults are believed to smoke. However, it is difficult to find reliable and current smoking and tobacco use estimates because most organizations that gather such data don’t recognize Taiwan as a country. World Health Organization (a United Nations agency) health statistics lump Taiwan with the PRC. (The PRC claims Taiwan is a breakaway province and not a sovereign nation, and Taiwan is not recognized by the UN or most countries.)