As Vaping Is Banned In Asia Big Tobacco Prepares To Move In
Taiwan looks to be the next Asian country to ban e-cigarettes whilst Thailand – that’s already banned them – has been told Heat Not Burn are NOT e-cigs.
I’ll get onto Thailand and the possible cosying up to the big tobacco backed HNB products soon – but first as the Taiwan government considers criminalizing vaping what will that mean for the existing vapers in the country and those desperate to quit smoking?
Just under a quarter of Taiwanese people smoke or – of the 23 million population around 5 million are smokers.
There’s no figures on the number of vapers in Taiwan however a rough guess-timate [based on the figures from neighbouring South Korea – 1million+ vapers] leads me to reckon it’s around 250,000.
That’s a hell of a lot of former smokers now looking forward to a longer life thanks to vaping – however these healthier folk could soon find themselves banged up in jail or bankrupted by ridiculously large fines – all for choosing a healthier way of life.
It’s a crazy world we live in.
Ban To Include E-liquid Without Nicotine!
According to Ecig Intelligence – the government of Taiwan has announced plans to change the current tobacco control law meaning the manufacture – sale – importation and advertising of all e-cigarette products would become illegal.
The executive branch of the Government – The Yuan – has lumped e-liquid that doesn’t contain nicotine into the proposed changes too!
Like I said crazy doesn’t begin to cover it.
And the main reason for this ban isn’t that Taiwan’s medical experts think vaping is dangerous – it’s to protect the children – or in this case the high school students.
According to Ecig Intelligence the Ministry of Health and Welfare is ‘concerned’ the ‘growth’ of youngsters trying e-cigs has risen and are fearful the kids will turn to tobacco products – which as we know flies in the face of all the sensible studies out there.
BTW this ‘rise’ causing the concern is a ‘jump’ from 2.1% of youngsters trying e-cigs in 2014 to around 3.7% in 2016 – hardly a rise of epidemic proportions and I’m guessing those trying a crafty fag behind the back of the bike-sheds is as high or maybe even higher.
The backlash of this ban will not only see millions of people dying through tobacco related diseases – but see the country’s vape manufacturers and retailers forced to leave the country.
According to Lee Chun Hao – who is the chairman of the Taiwan Vape Association [TVA] many are already considering moving vape businesses to China – Vietnam and even Malaysia.
However he hopes the e-cigarette industry will help the TVA fight the proposed ban and in particular multinational Foxconn Technology.
Foxconn is behind the highly successful Suorin Air pod mod and has a presence in Taiwan though doesn’t sell the product there.
Wang-yu Yang the general secretary of TVA said:
If an enterprise like Foxconn is involved – it means the e-cigarette market has a future.
Meanwhile Lee Chun Hao called on his Government to reconsider the proposed ban – however his words read more like capitulation to me:
The government should allow the sale of none nicotine e-cigarettes and consider phasing out the market [in nicotine products] instead of an immediate total ban.
Sorry Lee I really can’t agree with you there.
Whilst it’s easy for me to say that – and without understanding Taiwanese politics – agreeing to a ‘phasing out’ of nicotine based products is pretty much throwing in the towel before the bell for round one has rung.
Heat Not Burn Products Are NOT E-Cigs
As the government of Thailand continues to criminalize and tighten the laws around vaping – that tricky question about Heat Not Burn products being allowed in the country has been raised.
This could be one of the most important decisions made as smokers desperate to quit look to proven alternatives such as recognized e-cigarettes.
Big Tobacco has long targeted Asia as ripe pickings with according to one source 64% of the worlds tobacco sales coming from the region.
Little wonder the Phillip Morris Thailand office is at pains to stress to the government that HNB’s should NOT be classed as e-cigs!
Earlier this week the managing director Gerald Margolis said:
This is different from e-cigarettes, which generate nicotine-containing aerosols by heating a liquid without using tobacco leaves.
Our vision on ‘designing a smoke-free future’ is to replace cigarettes with non-combustible products as soon as possible.
Forgive me for uttering more than a few expletives under my breath mate – but I call BS.
Big Tobacco Ready To Pounce
Despite slick marketing and promotions in Asia the amount of smokers whilst still ridiculously high is falling – slowly but surely.
And as Asian governments collectively start banning and criminalizing vaping your move to distance HNB products away from e-cigs has absolutely NOTHING to do with the health of the world – but profit.
It pisses me off that on one hand you’re trying to convince governments HNBs are NOT e-cigs whilst on the other you’re at Vaper Expo for instance – hey if you’re not an e-cig then sod off from platforms for vaping!
Let’s be honest here – it’s a dog eat dog world and if you can see vaping banned and criminalized whilst allowing your not as yet fully tested HNB products remain – you’ll retain the lion’s share of profit.
Now if you admitted that I’d have a lot more respect for you – grudgingly.
As it stands as we head into a New Year there’s no independent research out there on HNB products only a dubious in house study.
The FDA is currently considering a Modified Risk Tobacco Product [MRTP] on HNBs with their decision announced in the New Year.
If the FDA agrees this would put Phillip Morris in the driving seat in the ‘alternative to smoking’ market giving them the green light before any vaping products.
Given they’re targeting the Asian market – any country that bans e-cigarettes but allows HNB products would be literally lining Big Tobacco’s pockets – shame on them.