Nine percent of secondary school students have tried smoking electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes, while 2.6 percent of primary 4 to primary 6 students have also done so, the Food and Health Bureau said.
Prof. Sophia Chan Siu-chee, the bureau’s undersecretary, said the situation is worrisome, adding that the government will consider regulating e-cigarette sales, Apple Daily reported on Friday.
The findings came from a survey on smoking in schools commissioned by the bureau and conducted by the University of Hong Kong in 2014 and 2015.
The survey interviewed 16,000 primary 4 to primary 6 students and 41,000 form 1 to form 6 secondary students.
According to the findings, 2.8 percent of students in the primary school group and 12.9 percent in the secondary school group said they have tried smoking cigarettes.
Chan said the chance of students taking up smoking is high if they have tried e-cigarettes.
As such, the bureau is considering prohibiting the importation, manufacture, sale, distribution and advertising of e-cigarettes through legislation.
The survey also found that the ratio of daily cigarette smokers among students aged 15 and above has slightly declined to 10.5 percent last year from 10.7 percent in 2012.
Although male smokers still outnumber their female counterparts, the proportion of female students who smoke has remained at around 3 to 4 percent.
Chan said the bureau would launch a service aimed at helping females to quit smoking.
She also said hiking the tax on cigarettes will help people to quit smoking.
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