A draft amendment has been put forward by the Executive Yuan in Taiwan that seeks to ban e-cigarettes and put further restrictions on other tobacco products.

The bill, the “Tobacco Harm Prevention Law” (菸害防制法), would not only ban electronic cigarettes, but also ban the sale of tobacco products to those under 20 years old. It would also ban flavored cigarettes ostensibly to prevent minors from being enticed into taking up smoking.

Smoking is certainly a serious problem in Taiwan. It is estimated that around 5 million people, in the country of around 23 million, smoke. This includes a generous amount of young people. Cigarettes are also relatively inexpensive in Taiwan, they average somewhere around NT$100 (US$3.62).

However some argue that the availability of e-cigarettes is a pathway for some to cut down on smoking or even quit. Some evidence has even shown that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, however this is far from conclusive.

If the bill is signed into law we will have to wait and see if it is effective at cutting down on smoking in Taiwan, and preventing young people from taking up the habit.