The Taiwanese government has announced a ban on the manufacturing, import, sale, and distribution of e-cigarettes, citing a sharp increase in usage rates. According to a report from a local news agency, the “Smoking Prevention Act” came into effect on April 22, and violators can be fined up to $50 million Taiwan dollars (approximately $1.8 million USD).
Authorities state that while the use of traditional cigarettes has been declining, adult e-cigarette usage has increased from 0.6% in 2018 to 1.7% in just two years. The usage rate has spiked even higher among college students, with an increase from 2.5% to 5.4%, and is rapidly increasing among middle and high school students as well.
The government has emphasized that enforcement will be strengthened until e-cigarettes are eradicated, and that violators will continue to be penalized. In addition, new types of tobacco, such as heated tobacco products, will be strictly regulated through health assessments for manufacturing, import, and sales.
The minimum age for smoking has been raised from 18 to 20 years old. Smoking is also now prohibited in a significantly larger number of areas, and warning labels and graphics on cigarette packaging have been increased by 50%.
Fruit, chocolate, and licorice additives are now banned in traditional cigarettes, and fines for manufacturing, importing, selling, supplying, or displaying products similar to cigarettes or tobacco products have been increased to $2.5 million Taiwan dollars (approximately $89,000 USD) and $500,000 Taiwan dollars (approximately $18,000 USD), respectively.