This is rather surprising to see. Hong Kong has decided to enforce an outright ban against e-cigarettes and vaping products.
Regulation Talks Come to an End
This past June, a legislative proposal was introduced outlining e cigs to be regulated the same way as conventional tobacco in Hong Kong. This would include an age restriction and prohibiting advertisements and sponsorship. While this isn't what the vaping community wants, to be lumped in the same category as cigarettes. But we'll take what we can get. That was all taken away very recently.
Worried about the increased risk Hong Kong's youth would be in, according to the World Health Organization, they decided to ban the entirety of e cigs. This is a blow to the vaping industry but it actually hurts the cigarette industry more.
Of a market of $1.2 Billion, vaping only makes up about $5 million of that. That's 0.0041% of the industry. That's insane! I guess it's pretty easy to ban something that's not really used very much. The reason I said this hurt cigarettes more than vaping is because there aren't many companies selling e cigs and e juice in Hong Kong. Although, cigarette companies, like Philip Morris, are dumping millions of dollars into lobbying. They are also dumping millions of dollars into the vaping industry because they see overall interest in cigarettes is declining, their profits are falling, and their shares are being thrown out the window. Philip Morris's shares dropped almost 30% since last October. That's very bad. Sears isn't even falling that fast, and they're filing for bankruptcy!
Cigarette Demand is Plummeting While Vape Soars
Between the high prices/taxes on a pack of cigarettes and the awful health hazards of smoking. Interest in cigarettes is making a huge dent in the cigarette industry's ability to survive. That's why companies like Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco Inc. are investing so much time and money into innovation in the vaping industry.
Cigarette companies now know, more than ever, that their days are numbered. Products like the Iqos, the heat-not-burn e-cigarette product made by Philip Morris, is so important to them. That's why Philip Morris is lobbying with the FDA and other governments to let them sell this product. They know vaping is the future,
Still a Blemish on Vaping's Resume
Heavy hitters in the vaping industry have been trying like hell to get vaping on the map. While, financially, this will hurt the cigarette companies, mentally, this hurts vaping as a whole. This will be another column for anti-vape advocates to show their friends and say, "See! e cigs are dangerous! Another country just banned them!"
While it doesn't really have an impact anywhere, even in Hong Kong e cigs weren't easy to buy in the first place, having another country on the list of vape-banned zones is always bad when trying to prove to others that vaping has benefits. Public Health England stated in a study that e-cigarettes are at least 95% less harmful.
Hong Kong was on a good path to allowing smokers an alternative to smoking, via vaporizers. But they chose to heed the advice to the World Health Organization stating that youth are at risk to getting hooked on vaping. I lived in Hong Kong, not for long but I still notice certain things happening there. Vaping is the least of their worries right now...