Taiwan’s E-Cigarette Ban: Latest Update & Implications

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Starting from March 22, Taiwan has implemented a comprehensive ban on electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products, and has raised the legal smoking age to 20.

According to reports from Taiwan’s “Up Media” and “Central News Agency”, on January 12 this year, the legislative body of Taiwan passed amendments to certain provisions of the “Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act” in its third reading, which were officially implemented on March 22 by the administrative agency of Taiwan. Taiwan’s health authorities held a press conference to emphasize the strengthening of inspections on the market and online.

Liu Jiaxiu, a member of the tobacco hazard prevention team of the Taiwan Health Promotion Administration, explained that the amendments have seven main points. The first is the comprehensive ban on all cigarette-like products, including electronic cigarettes. The second is that designated tobacco products, including heated tobacco products, can only be manufactured, imported, and sold after passing a health risk assessment review and approval. The necessary components of approved combinations are also under regulation. In other words, starting from now, unapproved heated tobacco products cannot be sold or traded.

The third point is to expand the smoking ban to indoor and outdoor public places, including universities, kindergartens, nurseries, and home-based childcare facilities. The fourth point is to raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 20. The fifth is to expand the warning graphic area on cigarette packages to 50%.

The sixth point is to ban specific additives. Liu Jiaxiu further explained that tobacco products cannot use additives that have been announced as prohibited by the competent authorities. Currently, the announcement is proposing to prohibit the use of floral, fruity, chocolate, and mint flavors in tobacco products, with a seven-day notice period.

The seventh amendment is to increase related penalties. Liu Jiaxiu gave an example of manufacturing or importing products that resemble tobacco products or their containers, which will now be fined up to 250,000 New Taiwan dollars (approximately 0.23 RMB per New Taiwan dollar). The fines for selling, supplying, displaying, or advertising such products have been increased to 50,000 New Taiwan dollars.

However, some civil society groups have accused that despite the amendments being in effect for over two months, the signs of electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products in street stores have not changed, and online marketing ads are still prevalent. Therefore, they are calling for the authorities to take real action in accordance with the law and remove all electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products from the market.

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