12.01.2023 – Taipei, Taiwan – Today, Taiwan’s legislative branch approved a broad ban on vaping and further restrictions on alternative harm-reduction products. In the third reading, the Legislative Yuan voted in favour of the ‘Tobacco Hazard Prevention Act’ amendments to ban electronic cigarettes, regulate the use of heated tobacco products, and raise the smoking age from 18 to 20 years.
The new legislation does not mention vaping directly, instead introducing the term “tobacco-like products,” and the manufacture, sale, and supply of such products are strictly prohibited. The legislation also introduces heavy fines on illegal e-cigarette operators, with a maximum penalty of NT$50 million.
Michael Landl, director of the World Vapers’ Alliance, described today’s vaping ban as a public health catastrophe in the making:
“What we are seeing in Taiwan is the result of a terrible misinformation campaign on harm reduction. Vaping is way less harmful than smoking and has the potential to save thousands of lives in Taiwan. History has also shown that bans and prohibitions do not work. Bans on vaping will only push thousands of people back to smoking or to the black market. If we want to achieve a smoke-less society, we must support tobacco harm reduction, not destroy it. Today’s decision by the Taiwanese legislators is a catastrophic mistake for the country’s public health.”
The Executive Yuan passed the draft amendment to the Tobacco Hazard Prevention Law in January last year, following many past attempts to regulate e-cigarette use.
“Instead of outright bans, regulation must be based on science and the experience of millions of consumers. Less harmful products must be treated differently than cigarettes. Taiwan should follow harm reduction leaders like the United Kingdom or Sweden, who are embracing vaping instead of fighting it”, Landl added.
“Tobacco harm reduction is the battle about money and votes, and I hope that every tobacco harm reduction and vaping advocate wins this fight in their country. I will keep fighting for our rights in Taiwan,” said Danny Wang, a vaping activist and head of Vape Taiwan, a partner organisation of the World Vapers‘ Alliance.