In January, the Health Promotion Administration announced a revision of the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act. Most of the changes involved eliminating exceptions to the country’s indoor smoking restrictions.
A recent story in The China Post explained the changes to the act. Presumably the island nation (or province of China, depending on who you ask) is following the suggestions of the World Health Organization.
At last year’s WHO tobacco control meeting, the international agency encouraged member countries to restrict or ban e-cigarettes. “The decision on electronic nicotine delivery systems and electronic non-nicotine delivery systems (ENDS/ENNDS) invites Parties that have not yet banned the importation, sale and distribution of ENDS/ENNDS to consider either prohibition or regulating such products,” said the official conference press release.
Luo Su-ying of the Taiwan Health Ministry told the Post that e-cigarettes posed an emerging global health hazard that could potentially serve as a gateway drug for cigarettes to minors. The administration defined e-cigarettes as “electronic devices that contained nicotine, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, or any other substance that is harmful to the human body.”
Jeff Stier, director of the Risk Analysis Division at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, DC, submitted comments to the Taiwanese government, attempting to educate them about the benefits of a smoking population converting to low-risk nicotine products.
“In order to properly protect public health, it is imperative that policy-makers are able to distinguish nicotine from smoking,” wrote Stier. “Without a full understanding of the science, it is easy to put all nicotine products in the same category as cigarettes, since for too long, cigarette smoking has been the most common way people consumed nicotine. This is tragic because we’ve known for a long time that people smoke for the nicotine but die from the tar.”