Health and wellness

Total ban on e-cigarettes and new tobacco products is the healthy way forward for Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 October, 2018, 5:04pm
UPDATED : Friday, 12 October, 2018, 5:03pm

I welcome the Hong Kong government’s decision to impose a full ban on e-cigarettes and other new tobacco products (“Five key takeaways from Carrie Lam’s policy address”, October 10).

Banning e-cigarettes and other vaping devices is definitely a good approach to improve public health and ease environmental pollution. Smoking has become worryingly common in Hong Kong, especially among young people. I see a lot of youngsters who couldn’t be older than secondary students smoking in the street. Strict action should therefore be taken against smoking, no matter whether it is traditional tobacco or e-cigarettes, as there are a lot of detrimental effects for both versions.

Research has shown that e-cigarettes can increase nicotine addiction in young people and lead them towards, rather than away from, smoking regular cigarettes. Besides, nicotine itself cannot be considered safe as it can seriously affect adolescent brain development and even cause harm to a developing foetus, resulting in lower birth weight, preterm birth and an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Carrie Lam’s policy address 2018: the highlights

E-cigarettes are often held up as an alternative to smoking and a way to quit the habit, but I would say that to quit one needs determination and a commitment to better health, not a new way to indulge in an existing addiction.

Hong Kong to ban e-cigarettes and other new tobacco products

Besides, e-cigarettes are not presented  as harmless, only “less harmful” than smoking tobacco. The totally harmless option is to quit all smoking.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s initiative on this is commendable, in that she has gone a step ahead of the earlier government proposal to regulate these devices like conventional cigarettes, and wants a full ban on e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn products and herbal cigarettes, among other new tobacco products. Not only will this improve public health but also the reputation of Hong Kong as a city committed to a healthier future.

Laibah Khan, Kwai Chung