Recent Legal Developments Concerning the Regulation of Flavored Tobacco and Tobacco Flavoring Tools in Taiwan

September 2022

Teresa Huang and Lilian Hsu

In recent years, various new tobacco products have emerged in the market, including new smoking carriers, ingredients, and flavors.  Among these, the term “flavored tobacco” refers to tobacco products with flavors such as floral, fruity, chocolate, mint fragrance and other aroma added to the tobacco product. The Executive Yuan believes that adding special flavors to tobacco products will lower the threshold for smoking, making them more attractive to children and adolescents and more addictive.  Therefore, the sale of flavored tobacco is banned across the board by the Executive Yuan in the provision added to Article 10 of the draft Partial Amendments to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act, which were submitted to the Legislative Yuan on January 14, 2022, that provides “tobacco products shall not be added with floral, fruity, chocolate, mint fragrance and any other additives prohibited by the announcement of the central competent authority.”[1]

The records of the speeches delivered in the Gazette of the Legislative Yuan Committee show that some legislators discussed the necessity of controlling tobacco flavoring agents and related devices while deliberating on the ban on flavored tobacco.  In this regard, Deputy Minister Chung-liang Shih of the Ministry of Health and Welfare (hereinafter, the “MOHW”) remarked that since these products do not contain nicotine and are not essentially tobacco products, it would be difficult to directly restrict their sale.  Therefore, the MOHW plans to also prohibit the promotion of these products in tobacco advertising by operators.[2]  Since a total ban on flavored tobacco involves complex issues such as national health, the protection of minors, and the rights of smokers, legislators still lack consensus on whether and how to ban flavored tobacco, and believe that further comprehensive consideration and more specific scientific research data are needed to confirm the health risks of adding flavoring additives to tobacco products.  Therefore, this issue has been shelved and is current at the stage of consultation among party caucuses.[3]

With regard to the regulation of tobacco flavoring tools, the MOHW considered the recommendations of legislators and pre-announced the Amendments to the Prohibited Manners of Promotion or Advertising of Tobacco Products via the Wei-Shou-Guo-1110760672 Circular of July 8, 2022 by adding “promoting, advertising, displaying, selling, or giving away products that can directly or indirectly add flavors to tobacco products” to the prohibited manners of tobacco promotion.[4]

Therefore, the tobacco industry must pay special attention to the fact that if the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act is not yet amended while the above amendments to the prohibited manners of tobacco promotion or tobacco advertising are adopted, although operators may still sell “flavored tobacco,” they cannot sell “original flavored tobacco plus flavor-adding tools.”

[1] Draft Partial Amendments to the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act:。

[2] The 72nd Term Committee Meeting Record, The Legislative Yuan Gazette, Volume 111, Page 306

[3] The 85th Term Committee Meeting Record, The Legislative Yuan Gazette, Volume 111, Pages 43-47

[4] Draft amendment pre-announced by the Ministry of Health and Welfare: 。