Tobacco laws amended: minimum age raised to 20

The minimum age to purchase tobacco products will be raised to 20 years old, and the term “tobacco-like products” will be added to cover new forms of tobacco consumption such as e-cigarettes, according to a draft amendment to tobacco control laws revealed today, May 29.

Wang Ying-wei, director of the Health Promotion Administration of the Ministry of Health and Welfare told reporters that the amendments are to follow the United States and other countries. The US raised the age restriction on smoking to 21 years old in 2019. Singapore also has a minimum age of 21, and Thailand has raised minimum age to 20, Wang pointed out.

Eighty-two percent of Taiwan’s smokers started smoking before the age of 20 years old, Wang said, adding that before the age of 20 the brain is still maturing and is susceptible to nicotine addiction.

The words “tobacco-like products” serve to add more flexibility and cover e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products, and other emerging tobacco products. The amendment was added to prohibit the manufacture, import, sale, supply, use, display, and advertising of “other types” of tobacco products that are hazardous to health, Mr Wang said.

The new amendments are expected to be passed during the current session of the Legislative Yuan.

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