Macau Health Bureau defends proposed ban on e-cig sales

Macau’s Health Bureau has defended its proposed ban on local sales of e-cigarettes as part of the amendment of the tobacco control regime, saying that it does not agree with a survey suggesting that most smokers want the ability to switch to less harmful alternatives to traditional cigarettes, such as e-cigarettes.

In a statement released on Oct. 30, the Health Bureau stated that e-cigarettes are not less harmful than traditional cigarettes, and that e-cigarettes should not be considered as an alternative to conventional tobacco products, according to a story in the Macau Business Daily.

“To ensure public health, the government has clearly suggested regulating e-cigarettes as a tobacco product as written in the delivered bill on the amendment of the tobacco control regime, and this has already gone through the first reading in the Legislative Assembly,” the Health Bureau stated.

The bill, which is now being reviewed by the second permanent committee of the Assembly, suggests a blanket ban on e-cigarette sales. The same bill also proposed a universal smoking ban in the city’s casinos.

The Health Bureau’s statement followed the briefing of two Hong Kong-based consumer advocacy groups—Fact Asia and the Asian Vape Association—calling for the government and legislature to give adults the opportunity to choose e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to smoking.