Palau joined a few countries with a strict ban on e-cigarettes, altogether banning the importation, use, possession, and sale of e-cigarettes.

The bill, signed into law on Wednesday, expanded the Tobacco Control Act to include e-cigarettes and prohibits the advertisement and promotion of electronic cigarettes.

The bill penalizes people caught violating the law with a $1,000 dollar fine and businesses or persons importing, distributing, and/or selling the product a $20,000 fine.

First Lady Valerie Whipps, who chairs the Tobacco Coalition, said that these products contain chemicals that affect the brain development of young people and the highly addictive nicotine.  “This product is specifically designed to attract young people, and if we let it, we will be raising an entire generation that is damaged by this harmful product,” stated the First Lady.

“I think it’s a good law,” said a student from Emmaus who attended the signing ceremony.  He said he had not used the product but knows people who did.

The signing of the law was witnessed by students from high schools, members of sports programs, members of Mechesil Belau, church groups, representatives of the Ministry of Health, and members of various NGOs.

“This bill will protect the health of the public, especially our youth, from the detrimental effects of electronic cigarettes and will further our goal of promoting a healthy lifestyle among our citizens,” stated President Whipps’s transmittal letter to both houses of Congress.

The law takes effect 60 days after the signing of the law, which means that by May 29, businesses and individuals can be prosecuted if found with e-cigarette products.

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