The vaping community in Taiwan have been sounding the alarm over the country’s restrictive laws for some time now, and fear that the activity may soon be regulated into oblivion.
E-cigarettes and liquids are currently regulated under the country’s Pharmaceutical Affairs Law. This has proven problematic, as according to analysts, the law itself does not cover in any detail how products without nicotine ought to be regulated. Vague and incomplete legislation has been a thorn in the side of the e-cigarette market the world over, and Taiwan is proving no different.
And in the world of regulation and medicine, nothing ever remains static for long, and there are fears about a coming amendment from the Executive Branch which would expressly forbid not only sales of e-cigarettes, but all forms of advertising and manufacturing.
In such trying times, the online market has proven a refuge and the salvation of many an over-policed vaping community, but the amendment may even come for that. Vapers within the Taiwanese border would not be able to import what they needed from online shops. The ban (like so many others) would also cover e-liquids without any nicotine.
This development marks a worrying escalation in the country’s existing anti-vape culture, with both vapers and industry advocates concerned that it could effectively culminate in all out ban, stopping a promising market dead in its tracks. Lee Chun Hao, chairman of the Taiwan Vape Association (TVA), put it mildly:
“If the amendment is implemented, all e-cigarette operators will be weeded out from Taiwan.”
Backers of the amendment have cited an outdated, recognisable justification for their efforts: the desire to protect teenagers from taking up smoking. Though every effort should be made against teenage vaping, all the reputable studies done into this phenomenon refute the idea of vaping as a gateway to tobacco smoking.
Caring about the spread and success of vaping can be a taxing business sometimes, mostly because you’ll encounter the same depressing headlines over and over again. But, as promoters of the world’s most potent new smoking cessation tool, we must always remember that the battle for public health is always one worth fighting. Key to doing this is staying abreast of where our attention is needed most. The amendment requires executive ratification to become law, and the TVA are working towards compromise.