Nearly one in 10 high school students and a small but growing number of younger people in Hong Kong have smoked an electronic cigarette.
The figures from a recent survey show that e-cigarettes, which sell for HK$20 (US$2.58) apiece, are becoming popular among students, Apple Daily reports, citing Hong Kong Vape Association (HKVA) committee member Chan Man-fai.
The survey was conducted by the Food and Health Bureau on 16,000 primary four to six students and 41,000 of their secondary one to six peers.
The e-cigarettes are bought on Taobao for about HK$10 each and imported to Hong Kong where they fetch twice the price, Chan said.
He said HKVA has made submissions to the government, saying Hong Kong still has no regulations on e-cigarettes while other jurisdictions have related legislation.
William Chui, chairman of the the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Hong Kong, said there are 100 types of e-cigarettes in Hong Kong.
“Teenagers could be misled to think that smoking e-cigarettes is just like eating candies after manufacturers add fruit and candy flavors,” he said.
Some e-cigarette makers say their product does not contain nicotine but the truth could be shocking, Chui said.
He called e-cigarettes “sugar-coated poison” which harms the brain, especially of young people.
Chui said the government should immediately regulate e-cigarettes.
The World Health Organization has called on all member countries to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and warned of their health risks.
Alf Wong, chairman of a parents group, said he is worried that e-cigarettes could become trendy among students and lure them to other soft drugs.
And legislator Ip Kin-yuen said parents should not underestimate the hazards of e-cigarettes.
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