Authorities in Hong Kong are determined to press ahead with a ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes despite a recent British study suggesting that vaping electronic cigarettes is about 95 percent less harmful than is smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes, according to a story in the South China Morning Post.
The study, carried out on behalf of Public Health England, an agency of the Department of Health, concluded that electronic cigarettes should be promoted as a means to help smokers quit their habit.
The Asian Vape Association, formed by five major electronic cigarette companies operating in Hong Kong, heralded the British report as a major turning point.
It urged the government to consider regulating the ingredients of e-liquids instead of banning the products outright.
“The report proves that electronic cigarettes are indeed an effective tool for harm reduction,” said Nav Lalji, founder and chairman of the association.
“We urge the Hong Kong government to advocate e-cigarettes as a safer alternative instead of completely banning them.”
But Hong Kong’s Food and Health Bureau seems set to proceed with the proposed ban on electronic cigarette sales sometime this year.
Health officials are said to believe that electronic cigarette manufacturers target young people and market their products as trend-setting.
According to a 2010 study, Hong Kong’s smoking rate was 11.1 percent of people above the age of 15.