Lawmakers vetting a controversial government bill that would have banned the sale of electronic cigarettes officially threw in the towel on Tuesday, with the bills committee scrutinising the legislation saying there isn’t enough time left to finish their work before the end of the current Legco session next month.
Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Kwok Wai-keung, who chairs the committee, said he had consulted members over the issue, and concluded that they would not be able to finish their work as required. Several meetings of the committee had been cancelled or pushed back earlier this year.
On Tuesday, the committee said it would now stop its work.
The decision means the bill is effectively dead, and the government would have to introduce it to the next legislature after the elections in September.
The proposed legal changes would have banned people from importing, manufacturing, selling or promoting e-cigarettes in Hong Kong, with violators to face up to six months in prison, or a HK$50,000 fine.
The Council on Smoking and Health (Cosh) said it is disappointed by the committee’s decision, and warned that it could result in a rebound in the number of smokers here.
The anti-smoking body had for years been campaigning for a blanket vaping ban, saying the practice has been gaining popularity in recent years.
It had also conducted surveys that found majority support for such a ban.
The government said it will review the bill, and consider tabling it again in the next Legco term.
Last updated: 2020-06-02 HKT 22:57