A number of anti-smoking advocates yesterday urged the Taiwan government to regulate electronic cigarettes as a tobacco product rather than as a controlled drug, so as to address the ‘rampant illegal sales’ of these devices, according to a story in the Taipei Times.
The call came one day after the World Health Organization issued a report calling for tighter regulation of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).
The government treats electronic cigarettes containing nicotine as a regulated drug subject to the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act; so, given the stringent requirements for obtaining a permit to manufacture or sell a drug, no electronic cigarettes can be sold in Taiwan legally.
Lin Ching-li, director of the John Tung Foundation, Taiwan’s most prominent anti-smoking group, said categorizing electronic cigarettes as a regulated drug had only prevented them from entering the country legally.
People could still purchase them online, on the street or in night markets.
Meanwhile, Foundation CEO Yao Shi-yuan was quoted as saying that products that contained nicotine and that were not designed for medical purposes should be regulated under the same law as applied to tobacco products.
Since the manufacturers would be required in this case to comply with the packaging and labeling regulations covering conventional cigarettes, people would stop thinking that electronic cigarettes were safe to use, he added.