【明報專訊】THE government has decided to impose a total ban on the sale of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), touching off a debate between the medical profession, the tobacco industry, political parties and politicians. The numerous arguments put forth by opponents of the ban range from "depriving smokers of their freedom" to "preventing smokers from quitting". Some claim that "banning e-cigarettes but not traditional cigarettes is a double standard" while others argue that banning e-cigarettes is "paternalistic and authoritarian" and oppose the ban in the name of democracy and freedom. In effect they are only lending a hand to the tobacco industry. The fact that Hong Kong has not been able to impose a total ban on cigarettes in one go does not mean that Hong Kong should allow the tobacco industry to spread the harm of tobacco use to the next generation covertly. Banning e-cigarettes is a correct move. The government has proposed introducing amendments to the law in the current legislative session, but it must be wary of a hidden force that seems to be using delaying tactics to obstruct the plan. The public should keep a close watch on the positions of legislators.