Another day another prohibitionist move against e-cigarettes – this time in Hong Kong. I would like someone, just one person somewhere in the world (but if possible someone at WHO), to explain why it is good policy to ban a product that nobody disputes is many times lower risk than cigarettes while cigarettes remain freely available. How can it be ethical to say to a smoker: “you know those cigarettes? They’re gonna kill you” and then say “sorry we’re going to ban these alternatives that will cause you a fraction the harm, if any“. Really? So it is with heavy hearts, Gerry Stimson and I write to the Hong Kong Legislative Council Panel on Health Services to argue against the Department of Health’s irresponsible proposal to ban sale of e-cigarettes. There’s a hearing coming up on 6 July 2015. Here’s the relevant documents:
Legislative Council: Panel of Health Services. Relevant papers for Legislative Council Panel on Health Services, special session 6th July 2015
- Progress of Tobacco Control Measures – the final proposal would ban e-cigarettes
- Updated background brief
- Paper with supplementary information requested by members at the meeting on 18 May 2015 – contains a supportive letter from WHO, but this conspicuously avoids endorsing the e-cigarette ban.
Submission from Clive Bates and Professor Gerry Stimson, in which we argue the case against prohibiting sale of e-cigarettes
- Panel on Health Services hearing 6 July 2015 – written submission –
- Chinese translation (please download and view with Adobe Acrobat Reader rather than a browser PDF viewer plugin)
All submissions for the meeting (there are a lot) are accessible via the Legislative Council’s list of published submissions.
Tobacco control. A local prohibitionist non-governmental organisation, the Hong King Council on Smoking & Health (COSH) has been feeding the government a highly misleading reading of the evidence through its e-cigarette position statement and has been campaigning to have e-cigarettes banned – why it thinks this is good for health rather than protective of cigarette sales is anyone’s guess. A more realistic view of the evidence is presented in my Briefing for Policymakers.