The legal status of e-cigarettes and related products in Taiwan may be about to change radically. Nicotine-containing products may become legal – or partially legal – while nicotine-free products, currently regarded as consumer products and widely available, may be reclassified as pharmaceutical products.
At present nicotine-containing e-cigs are considered to be drugs and as such their sale, import and manufacture is effectively banned. They need a licence before they can be legally sold – and so far no product has been granted one.
On the other hand, non-nicotine vaping products that do not resemble traditional cigarettes are legal in the country, as outlined in the latest ECigIntelligence regulatory report. Article 14 of the Smoking Control Act prevents the sale of objects that imitate conventional cigarettes, which applies especially to cigalikes.
Local media reported a few months ago on this change of legal situation amid concerns about youth uptake and re-normalisation of smoking behaviour.
A recent report from the Taiwanese government treated e-cigs as a public threat rather than an opportunity. It expressed concerns about the use of vaping products by under-18s and battery safety, among other issues.
ECigIntelligence understands from this report that the Ministry of Health and Welfare intends to amend the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act to regulate e-cigarettes as a tobacco-related product. If that happens, restrictions on tobacco packaging, for example, will be applied equally to vaping products, as will a ban on usage in places such as public buildings, hospitals, hotels and restaurants.
What This Means: If the suggested new law comes into force in Taiwan, it could create the unusual situation of legalising nicotine products while prohibiting non-nicotine devices.
ECigIntelligence understands that the enforcement of vaping laws in Taiwan can already be harsh and restrictive for e-cigs, which could be regulated under tobacco laws.
– David Palacios ECigIntelligence staff