Two Hong Kong men arrested on suspicion of selling nicotine-containing e-cigarettes

On May 5, according to Hong Kong’s “Sing Tao Daily” report, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government Department of Health and the police took a joint action on the 4th to crack down on the illegal sale of alternative smoking products. Two of the men were arrested by the police on suspicion of illegal sale and possession of Part 1 poisons and illegal sale of alternative smoking products.

During the crackdown, the Department of Health and the police seized a batch of suspected alternative smoking products, including 94 boxes of e-cigarette cartridges and 74 e-cigarette main units. As of now, the investigation is still ongoing.

On 30 April, the Smoking (Public Health) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 (Cap. 371) came into operation. The Ordinance prohibits the import, promotion, manufacture, sale or possession for commercial purposes of alternative smoking products. Violators can be fined up to HK$50,000 and jailed for six months.

In addition, under the Pharmacy and Poisons Regulations (Cap. 138A), nicotine (other than tobacco products) is a Part 1 poison, and e-cigarettes containing nicotine are classified as pharmaceutical products. The Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap. 138) stipulates that all pharmaceutical products must be registered with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Hong Kong before they can be legally sold in the market. Illegal sale or possession of unregistered pharmaceutical products or Part 1 poisons is a criminal offence. The maximum penalty for each offence is a fine of HK$100,000 and two years’ imprisonment.