Smoker rights groups yesterday protested outside the legislature in Taipei against a proposal to ban e-cigarettes.
Holding signs that read: “Consumers have rights, too,” “Give me the freedom to choose” and “Do not force me to smoke cigarettes,” protesters said the government should not impose a blanket prohibition against e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products (HTPs).
The government must respect the rights of smokers, they said, adding that it should offer people choices, instead of instituting an outright ban.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
The protest was in response to the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee considering changes to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act (菸害防制法) that would ban e-cigarettes and limit HTPs. Amendments to the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例) to restrict e-cigarettes are also be considered by the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee.
One protester said that vaping devices, HTPs and flavored cigarettes should be regulated like regular cigarettes, with taxes and age restrictions for purchase.
“HTPs and e-cigarettes should be classified as tobacco products, just like the cigarettes sold at convenience stores,” said the protester, who asked that their name not be used. “We agree that the government should impose restrictions and rules, not permit sale to minors, no advertising, no online purchase and have health warnings.”
Separately, while discussing amendments to the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act at the legislature, Deputy Minister of Justice Tsai Pi-chung (蔡碧仲) was asked about recent calls by advocates urging the government to permit medicinal cannabis.
Tsai said there is no plan to decriminalize cannabis, which remains classified as a category 2 narcotic.
Tsai said the judiciary is cracking down on all illegal drug use, including cannabis, and said it is illegal in Taiwan for YouTubers to post videos teaching how to grow marijuana.
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