Experts call for checking juvenile vaping

Xinhua
E-cigarettes have become the "first whiff of smoke" for many teenagers in China, as they remain a gray area in tobacco control regulations, according to experts.
Xinhua

E-cigarettes have become the “first whiff of smoke” for many teenagers in China, as they remain a gray area in tobacco control regulations, according to experts.

Cui Xiaobo, executive vice president of the Beijing Tobacco Control Association, said that e-cigarettes are not regulated under the traditional tobacco control system, and they are sold in stores near campuses attracting young users.

Yesterday coincided with World No Tobacco Day, which has a theme of preventing youth from tobacco and nicotine use for this year. The global campaign has focused on protecting young people from tobacco industry manipulation.

According to tobacco control experts, electronic cigarettes contain addictive nicotine and release toxic and harmful aerosols. However, they are likely to be neglected since they are neither categorized under the control of tobacco nor drugs in China.

In terms of production, sales, scope of use, advertising, promotion and sponsorship, electronic cigarettes continue to be shrouded in gray areas.

Chinese authorities have taken multiple measures to intensify the oversight on the sales channels of e-cigarettes, including banning online sales and advertisements of e-cigarettes.

Several well-known domestic e-commerce platforms, including Taobao, JD.com and Suning.com, have also removed e-cigarette products from their shelves.

However, the association has found that various kinds of electronic cigarettes and cigarette oil are available in auto-vending machines that sell snacks and beverages.

Some small markets, alcohol and tobacco shops as well as chain convenience stores continue to put e-cigarettes on shelves along with beverages and chewing gums.

Wang Ke’an, a researcher at the Beijing ThinkTank Research Center for Health Development, said that the cigarette oil in electronic cigarettes is artificially blended with complex compositions, some of which are quite harmful to health after heating. However, packages of such products lack warnings on the harms of nicotine and other substances.

He said vaping can also lead to nicotine addiction among teenagers if they get into the habit. As their addiction gets worse, they are likely to turn into cigarette smokers.

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