Philip Morris Warns It May Shut Down Hong Kong Research Center Amid Government Ban on E-Cigarettes

Philip Morris (PM) has warned that it could be forced to close its research facility for new smoking products in Hong Kong if the local government does not reverse its ban on e-cigarettes, the South China Morning Post reported.

The tobacco producer spent HKD78 million ($10 million) to establish the Wong Chuk Hang facility, which opened last year. But the Legislative Council tabled a full proposal on a full ban on e-cigarettes in February, citing lack of evidence that these products can help people quit smoking. A representative for Hong Kong’s Food and Health Bureau told the newspaper the government aimed to pass the bill as soon as possible.

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The research facility employs more than 60 local people. It tests heat-not-burn products and also serves as a supply chain hub for the company to manage the global distribution of the products, Brett Cooper, general manager of the Hong Kong and Macau branch of Philip Morris Asia, told the Morning Post.

“There hasn’t been a lot of clarity…the government has changed its mind a little bit. I think that it could have been clearer, as that could help us in terms of investment,” Cooper added.