Taiwan bans e-cigarettes and tightens tobacco laws

The revision of the Taiwanese Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act provides for a ban on electronic cigarettes, a tightening of access to heated tobacco, an increase in the legal age for the sale of tobacco and an extension of health warnings. The question of aromas is however still under debate.

The Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act, which defines the conditions for access to tobacco products in Taiwan, had not been revised since 2009. Adopted at third reading in parliament, the main lines of its new version are now established[1].

The production, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes are prohibited

Among the measures voted, the production, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes are now prohibited on the territory, whether disposable or rechargeable. The rapid growth of vaping among middle school students (1.9% in 2018, 3.9% in 2021) and high school students in Taiwan (3.4% in 2018, 8.8% in 2021) convinced the legislator to adopt a strict and restrictive legislation for these products. Local banning initiatives, such as that of the municipality of Taichung, had already been taken in this direction from 2020. Taiwan thus joins the 32 countries identified in 2021 by the World Health Organization (WHO) for having banned the sale electronic cigarettes[2].

The sale of heated tobacco products remains authorized, but is subject to tighter controls. Manufacturers must now provide a human health risk assessment report for these products before receiving marketing authorization. Advertising for these heated tobacco devices is prohibited. Heavy penalties, ranging from 10 to 50 million New Taiwan dollars (3 to 15 million €), will sanction professionals illegally importing electronic cigarettes or heated tobacco devices[3].

The legal age of sale is raised to 20 years

Other measures complete the system. The legal age for the sale of tobacco products is thus pushed back from 18 to 20 years. The size of health warnings is increased from 35% to 50% of the main surface of cigarette packs. The 2019 regulations, which made all types of educational establishments and most of their surroundings smoke-free, from child care centers to university campuses, are included among the amendments to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act.

The actors in the fight against smoking regret, however, that the wording of the article restricting the use of additives and flavorings is not sufficiently precise, and fear that manufacturers will find possible sources of circumvention.

In the wake of the WHO Framework Convention

Taiwan is not a member of the WHO and therefore cannot ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), but is explicitly in its wake and is very directly inspired by it. The country already produces reports that refer to it, such as the one presenting its situation in terms of tobacco control[4]and an amendment to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act even proposes to ratify it. One of the recently adopted amendments, for example, prohibits tobacco producers from making any direct or indirect donation to people, groups or events, with a view to promoting or advertising their products; this corresponds to prohibiting sponsorship operations, but could also apply to certain corporate social responsibility (CSR) actions. With smoking prevalence falling from 26.5% in 2005 to 20% in 2015[5]Taiwan appears to be well on its way to achieving its major tobacco reduction target.

Keywords: Taiwan, legislation, electronic cigarettes, heated tobacco, legal age

©Tobacco Free Generation

FM


[1] Tsu-ti H, Taiwan set to ban vaping productsTaiwan News, published January 12, 2023, accessed January 13, 2023.

[2] WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2021: new and emerging productsWHO, published July 27, 2021, accessed January 13, 2023.

[3] Chung J, Lawmakers tighten the screws on HTPs and ban e-cigarettesTaipei Times, published January 13, 2023, accessed January 13, 2023.

[4] Taiwan Tobacco Control Report 2020Health Promotion Administration, 2021, 168 p.

[5] Sanna M, Gao W, Chiu YW, et al. Tobacco control within and beyond WHO MPOWER:Taiwan SimSmoke resultsTob Control, 2020;29:36–42.

National Anti-Smoking Committee |

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