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Heat-Not-burn tobacco products


What is Heat-Not-burn (HNB) tobacco products
  • Heat-Not-burn (HNB) tobacco is a kind of tobacco products. Aerosol for users to consume is generated through an electronic device by heating up (rather than combusting) a tobacco stick with high temperature.
  • Same as traditional cigarettes, tobacco is the main ingredient of heat-Not-burn tobacco products. As such, these products contain nicotine and could be addictive.
  • Since it is a tobacco product, related legislation should be complied with before sale. Supplying Heat-Not-Burn tobacco products to minors is disallowed.
Health risks
  • The tobacco industry claims that Heat-Not-Burn tobacco products release less toxins and are less harmful than traditional cigarettes. COSH believes such claim is a kind of promotion tactics, which aims to downplay the health risks associated with smoking.
  • DO NOT try Heat-Not-Burn tobacco products, as the long-term health effects of tobacco products should not be underestimated, despite the limited empirical studies towards Heat-Not-Burn products at the present stage.
  • A European research found that Heat-Not-Burn products contain chemicals commonly found in traditional cigarettes, including nicotine, volatile organic compound (VNC), carbon monoxide (CO) and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
Regulations in other countries
  • Regulations towards Heat-Not-Burn tobacco products vary among countries. Most countries regulate Heat-Not-Burn products as tobacco products under the framework of existing tobacco control legislations.
  • Some countries (e.g. New Zealand) implement a ban on import and sales of Heat-Not-Burn tobacco products.
  • According to World Health Organization, all forms of tobacco use are harmful. Currently, there is no evidence to demonstrate the HNB tobacco products are less harmful than traditional cigarettes. It recommends that HNB tobacco products should be subject to the policy and regulatory measures applied to all other tobacco products.
Relevant legislations in Hong Kong
  • According to Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance (Cap 371), tobacco smoking (including Heat-Not-Burn tobacco products) in statutory no-smoking areas is prohibited. Offenders are liable for a fixed penalty of HK$1,500.
  • In accordance with Dutiable Commodities Ordinance (Cap 109), all tobacco products are dutiable commodities. It is obliged to apply for license and permit from the Customs & Excise Department, alongside with all relevant taxes paid, before selling tobacco products in Hong Kong.
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