In this Oct 4, 2019 file photo, a woman using a vaping device exhales a puff of smoke in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. (TONY DEJAK / AP)
HONG KONG - The Hong Kong government on Thursday reminded the public that the ban on the importation and sale of alternative smoking products (ASPs), like electronic cigarettes, will take effect on April 30.
In a statement, the government said that, under the Smoking Ordinance 2021, people will not be allowed to use or carry an activated ASP in no-smoking areas. Offenders will be fined $1,500.
The ordinance also prohibits the promotion, manufacture, and possession for commercial purposes of ASPs. Those convicted of violating the law will be fined $50,000 and imprisoned for six months
The ban covers electronic smoking products, heated tobacco products, herbal cigarettes, and their accessories, the government said.
The ordinance prohibits the importation of an ASP by way of parcels, cargoes or bringing in by incoming travelers. People bringing such products into the city must declare them to customs.
Starting Saturday, inspectors from the Department of Health's Tobacco & Alcohol Control Office will conduct inspections, investigate complaints and carry out enforcement actions, the government said.
The ordinance also prohibits the promotion, manufacture, and possession for commercial purposes of ASPs. Those convicted of violating the law will be fined $50,000 and imprisoned for six months.
A DH spokesman said ASPs contain amounts of nicotine similar to those of regular cigarettes “in order to sustain addiction” while health hazards of long-term exposure to these new products “are unknown”.
"We appeal to smokers to quit smoking as early as possible for their own health and that of others,” he said.
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