Health ministry raises alarm about use of e-cigarette among students

April 26, 2023 - 08:34
The department said in a document sent to Departments of Health in provinces and cities that the use of electronic nicotine delivery (END) products and heated tobacco products (HTPs) is on the rise among students.


On October 8, 2022, the Ministry of Education and Training held a direct communication session on the prevention and control of tobacco harms, particularly e-cigarettes, for students in Cần Thơ Province. VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — There have been numerous incidents of students requiring emergency medical attention due to nicotine poisoning and other chemicals present in e-cigarettes and heated cigarette products, according to the Ministry of Health’s Medical Examination and Treatment Department.

The department said in a document sent to Departments of Health in provinces and cities that the use of electronic nicotine delivery (END) products and heated tobacco products (HTPs) is on the rise among students.

Many students have had to be rushed to the emergency room due to nicotine poisoning and the harmful substances in e-cigarettes and heated cigarettes.

The department said, besides the well-known harmful effects of regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes and heated cigarettes also pose potential risks and contribute to social evils, such as drug abuse and other addictive behaviours, which adversely affect the health and lifestyle of adolescents.

Moreover, these products cause immediate and long-term harm to health, the economy and society. The department urged more communication and awareness-raising efforts about the dangers of these products.

To further reinforce communication and prevent the use of all tobacco products, the department suggested that provinces and cities' health departments advise the People's Committees of provinces and cities to issue directives, instructing departments, branches, and media agencies to regularly propagate the harmful effects of ordinary cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and heated cigarettes.

Localities should promptly enforce regulations to prohibit the use of these products in agencies, offices, and educational and training institutions; enhance inspection activities; and strictly deal with cases of buying, selling, and using e-cigarettes, heated cigarettes, and shisha.

Departments of health should collaborate with relevant media agencies and units to disseminate information on the harmful effects of e-cigarettes and heated cigarettes to civil servants, public employees, and employees at agencies and organisations, as well as people in the area.

The content can be integrated into meetings, seminars, conferences, agencies, units and community events.

Furthermore, health departments should work closely with education and training departments to provide information and widely disseminate the harmful effects of new tobacco products to pupils, students, officials, and teachers at educational institutions. Healthcare facilities should also actively provide information about the harmful effects of new tobacco products to patients, their family members, and people in the community.

During a scientific conference organised by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Training in 2022 to share research results on tobacco use among students aged 13-15 years old in Việt Nam, data revealed that the rate of tobacco use among this age group increased from 0.2 per cent in 2014 to 0.8 per cent in 2022.

The use of new tobacco products such as e-cigarettes and heated cigarettes is also on the rise among young people.

The rate of e-cigarette smoking among those over 15 years old increased from 0.2 per cent in 2015 to 3.6 per cent in 2020, with an especially high rate of 7.3 per cent among the 15-24 age group. Among students aged 13-15 years old, the rate of e-cigarette use is 3.5 per cent, with male students at 4.3 per cent and female students at 2.8 per cent.

E-cigarettes and heated tobacco products contain nicotine, along with approximately 15,500 flavourings, many of which are toxic and can have negative health effects. They also pose a risk of fire and explosion and can be mixed with other substances, such as cannabis. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that e-cigarettes are more harmful than traditional cigarettes and can cause premature health effects or interstitial lung disease, which progresses rapidly and has a worse prognosis than lung cancer. Furthermore, e-cigarettes do not have the same effect as regular cigarettes in aiding smoking cessation. VNS