A legislation the Food and Health Bureau recommended to regulate the management of e-cigarettes has caused controversy.
Mr Kwong, chairman of the Smoking and Health commission, expressed disappointment with the government’s decision. He worried that the practice will normalize smoking behavior and increase the smoking rate. Yesterday, the Secretary for Food and Health Mr Matthew chan pointed out that a blanket ban on e-cigarette would take a long time to build consensus. And he believes that it is a more pragmatic approach to strengthen regulation through taxation.
In 2015, the Government had accepted the recommendation of the Smoking and Health Committee to support a complete ban on e-cigarettes. But then, it has now changed its position to regulate the management of e-cigarettes. Mr Kwong criticized the decision when he attended a radio program yesterday and pointed out that electronic cigarettes contain carcinogenic substances like ordinary cigarettes. And he concerned that e-cigarettes promoting and selling methods targeting young people would make more young people smoke and normalize smoking behavior.
Mr Kwong asked the government to step up tobacco control efforts, such as emulating the extension of the scope of smoking bans to buses, minibuses and taxi stands in Macau, and increase tobacco taxes by 100%.
He also pointed out that the government should set up a benefit declaration mechanism for the current legislative work. For example, the members of the Legislative Council’s Health Affairs Committee, such as the Health Affairs Committee, who have formulated a tobacco control policy, should report whether they have a beneficial relationship with the tobacco trader, so as to prevent tobacco companies from influencing the policy.
When Mr Matthew chan attended the other radio program, he said that the government heard different voices, but explained that the comprehensive ban on e-cigarettes required more time to gather social consensus and legislation and believed that the effect may not be as effective as the existing proposal. She stressed that the government would also refer to the latest scientific evidence and international practices in the future. It wasn’t excluded that the regulation would be strengthened.
Note: The graphic content is originated from Hong Kong literature review for reference only.