War on e-cigarettes: Hong Kong intends to jail vaping offenders. But will it make people quit?

Robert Chan lit his first cigarette aged 18. He quickly became hooked, smoking 15 a day for more than a decade. Like so many other smokers, Hong Kong-based Chan didn’t savor his addiction. He wanted to quit smoking cigarettes, but struggled to end his nicotine habit. Two years ago, on his 30th birthday, Chan started using a device that heats tobacco — instead of burning it — to release a nicotine-laced vapor. Chan is one of the 35 million people around the world believed to be using e-cigarettes or heat-not-burn products, according to Euromonitor. But today that industry is facing a battle. While many smokers are embracing alternative devices in an attempt to quit cigarettes, governments around the world are divided. This month, the Hong Kong government announced plans to push ahead with a controversial blanket ban on all e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn products. Under the sweeping draft law, which begins its path through the legislator tomorrow, anyone who imports, makes, sells or promotes new smoking products could face six months in jail or a HK$50,000 ($6,370) fine.


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