|The Market Watchdog inspects vaping and heated tobacco products without clear origin in Romio Vape Store at Phan Đình Phùng Street, Quang Vinh Ward in Biên Hoà City. VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI – The Ministry of Health has called for improved monitoring and regulation of the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products nationwide.
Deputy Health Minister Trần Văn Thuấn emphasised the need for increased monitoring and punishment of those involved in the trade of these harmful products in a document sent to provincial and municipal authorities, as well as the Ministry of Education and Training, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Information and Communications, and the Ministry of Public Security.
According to the Ministry of Health, many electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDs), heated tobacco products (HTPs), and shisha products have appeared in Việt Nam in recent years.
These products are currently not authorised for import, sale, or distribution in the domestic market, but they are widely advertised and sold online.
These products have various designs and appealing flavours that attract young people, leading to a rapid increase in the use of electronic cigarettes, especially among school-aged children.
A 2019 survey by the World Health Organisation found that the rate of e-cigarette use among 15 and 17-year-old students in Việt Nam was 2.6 per cent.
A 2022 survey of tobacco use among students aged 13-15 showed an increase in electronic cigarette use to 3.5 per cent.
There are roughly 20,000 types of flavouring agents used in e-cigarettes, many of which are harmful and have not been fully evaluated for their health effects, it reported.
Electronic cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance that can cause cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive diseases. It also contains glycerin and propylene glycol, which can form propylene oxide, a carcinogenic substance when heated and vaporised.
Recently, there have been cases of students who have been hospitalised due to nicotine poisoning and other chemicals found in tobacco products. In addition to the health risks of traditional tobacco products, e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products also pose a risk of drug use and other addictive substances.
Under the document, the Ministry of Health has requested the municipal and provincial people’s committees to work with relevant ministries and agencies to increase awareness of the dangers of traditional tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and heated tobacco products.
The municipal and provincial people’s committees should also direct departments and units to prevent using these products in government offices, schools, and public places.
They should strengthen strict measures to prevent the purchase, sale, and use of e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products, and shisha in their localities.
Schools should be instructed to strengthen the dissemination of information about the dangers of these products to students, teachers, and other staff members. They must increase monitoring and prevention of the use of e-cigarettes.
The departments of industry and trade, the market watchdogs, and other relevant agencies should be directed to increase inspections and strictly handle cases of illegal purchase, sale, and trade of e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products, and shisha.
These products cannot be imported, traded, or circulated in Việt Nam.
Recently, the Ministry of Education and Training has actively collaborated with the Ministry of Health in effectively implementing many activities to prevent the harmful effects of tobacco products on students and young adults. These activities include issuing guidance documents and organising training courses on the dangers of tobacco products.
To prevent the use of tobacco products, the Ministry of Health has called for smoke-free environments in schools and asked schools to cooperate with local authorities to strictly enforce the ban on selling tobacco and new-generation tobacco products outside school gates.
The Ministry of Health has also recommended the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Ministry of Public Security strengthen inspections and strictly handle cases involving the purchase, sale, transportation, and storage of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. – VNS