Like so many other smokers, Hong Kong-based Chan did not miss his addiction. He wanted to quit smoking cigarettes, but struggled to end his nicotine habit.
Two years ago, on his 30th birthday, Chan began using a device that heats tobacco – rather than burning it – to release a nicotine-laced steam.
"I wanted to quit smoking, but I wasn't quite ready to quit nicotine yet," he says. "I saw this as a fracture device to do something less harmful than cigarettes … There is no ash, no odor and the lungs and my breath feel better when I use it."
But today the industry is facing a fight. While many smokers embrace alternative devices in an effort to join cigarettes, governments around the world are shared.
This month, the Hong Kong government announced plans to push ahead with a controversial ban on all e-cigarettes and non-burning products.
Under promising bills, which begin their way through the legislature tomorrow, anyone who imports, stocks, sells or markets new smoking products may come in six months in prison or a $ 50,000 steak ($ 6,370).
Chan says the law will make him choose between being criminal or doing something worse for his health.
"This will either send people back to smoking real cigarettes or drive the entire industry to a black market," he says.
The first e-puff
Today, the United States is the world's largest e-cigarette and heat-non-burning market, worth $ 5.1 billion last year, followed by Japan and the UK, according to Euromonitor.
So are the products a way to give up smoking, or just an alternative gateway to nicotine?
For Hong Kong government protects youth from weapons is more important than giving smokers an alternative to traditional tobacco products.
"These products are marketed as trendy products to attract young people who do not already smoke," said Antonio Choing Kwong, head of the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health, who lobbied the government for the proposed ban.
"The smoking prevalence of junior high school children in Hong Kong is 2.5%. At a low rate, anything that attracts youth will be dangerous."
A spokesman for the Hong Kong Food and Health Bureau said it applied to all alternative smoking products "a gateway to the final consumption of conventional cigarettes", noting that "all these new smoking products are harmful to health and produce hand-held smoke."
Under the ban, citizens can smoke their current supplies at home. But when they leave, alternative smoking products buy a legal challenge.
The great vape debate
The world is divided over e-cigarettes.
Currently, 39 jurisdictions have banned the products directly, including Brazil, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand. In Canada and Australia, e-cigarettes that do not contain nicotine are legal to buy – although such products are rare. Britain and the United States have managed sales to adults are legal.
Legislation and regulation have been slow to retrieve the industry as new products such as incinerators, including Iqos produced by tobacco giant Philip Morris, have entered the market.
Iqos technology is different from e-cigarettes developed in Shenzhen. The device is heated instead of burning a tobacco stick, which the company claims is 90% less harmful, as it produces far fewer carcinogens.
"The Hong Kong law has packed everything into e-cigarettes and non-burning heat, but the government must understand the difference between what the two are and how they can regulate them," said Brett Cooper, Hong Kong's general manager and Macau for Philip Morris.
In Japan, where 34% of people still smoke, nicotine e-cigarettes have been banned – but Iqos is legal and successful.
"One in five people switched from cigarettes to These alternative products in Japan, "says Cooper, noting that Iqos accounts for 15% of the tobacco market in Japan, where 3 million people use the device.
With the new legislation, Hong Kong shows that it is opposed to" innovation, technology and new science, "adds Cooper.
Nav Lalji has a difficult job. He is the head of the Asian Vape Association, a group formed in 2015 to unite vapers in the region However, since becoming a defensive body, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Japan all have banned e-cigarettes.
Lalji believes that the ban in Hong Kong should only smokers of e-cigarettes and heat-non-burn products to criminals.
"The thing we are located in Hong Kong, located right next to Shenzhen, the hub and heart of the production of e-cigarettes, says Lalji, adding that the Chinese mega-city produces 95% of the world's e-cigarette supply .
"So if anyone in Hong Kong cannot acquire them legally, they can simply cross the border with China to pick them up or order online."
For Others, the proposed law threatens to move Hong Kong to nanny state's territory.
"The ban goes against a few values that I love dear: freedom of choice as a consumer and freedom to access less harmful products," said Brice L, a French expat resident in Hong Kong who asked CNN not to used his ether avn due to the legal sensitivities of e-cigarettes.
"All in all, it feels like the Hong Kong government is backing – and I don't understand the reasoning behind it."