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E-cigarettes must be banned in Vietnam: policymakers

E-cigarettes, called Vape or new-generation cigarettes, will cause serious harm to young generation in Vietnam.

The use of e-cigarettes once again heated up the National Assembly agenda as policymakers emphasized the harmful effects and consequences of e-cigarettes, which are being widely circulated and used in Vietnam.

E-cigarettes have been banned in many countries over the world. File Photo

Giving a view at the 14th National Assembly’s final session in Hanoi on March 24, Nguyen Anh Tri, a delegate from the capital city, said there were many catastrophic accidents caused by drivers who were addicted to drug while driving vehicle.

“There should be specific provisions in law,” Tri said to National Assembly delegates who were discussing draft amended Law on Drug Prevention and Control.

Tri said that the use of e-cigarettes is spreading very quickly in the country, especially targeting to young people, thus causing serious harm to younger generations in the future. E-cigarettes are the fastest way leading the smokers to drugs “so it is necessary to ban it, do not let it grow and then deal with its consequences in the future.”

He said many countries in the world have condemned and proposed an absolute ban of e-cigarettes due to its harmful consequences, so that the Vietnamese National Assembly and Government should immediately ban the use and trading of e-cigarettes in the country for the shake of a better living.

“Please do not delay. If we are late, we will have to pay a heavy price by the people’s destroyed health and then a huge amount of money to stop such a kind of human killing called e-cigarettes,” Tri said.

Delegate Pham Trong Nhan from the southern province of Binh Duong said in some cases, the decisions given by authorities, not know whether accidentally or intentionally, have created more loopholes in the legislation while the country is facing with many difficulties in the fight against drug.

He showed a proof that the Ministry of Science and Technology last December issued Decision 3485 announcing the national standards for heated tobacco products (HTPs), a product combined between electronic equipment and tobacco products. The decision was made while there is not any assessment on the HTPs’ impacts on the society, especially people’s health and the possible mixture of e-cigarettes and drug.

“More importantly, the Government leader has not yet had any regulation allowing the circulation of HTPs, but it has been put into the national standards. “Is it just because of its ‘beautiful’ name as being the new-generation cigarettes, or is there any other reason?”, Nhan said.

He added that 24 countries have completely banned e-cigarettes, while 17 others prohibited HTPs and a majority of ASEAN countries have enacted regulations banning the new-generation cigarette products. 

Real situation

In Vietnam, although the smoking of e-cigarettes is a forbidden behavior by many schools, a number of students still smoke after getting out of the school gate, even at the school. They are interested in a new ‘experience’ and style rather than its harm to health.

Nguyen Ngoc Anh, the Headmaster of Minh Khai Secondary School in Hanoi’s Bac Tu Liem District, said Vape is gradually creeping into schools in forms of lipstick, pens and candies, making teachers and parents failed to recognize it.

He said the school has built a plan to prevent the use of cigarettes and Vape. Beside 37 surveillance security cameras installed throughout the school, teachers and staff are assigned to observe students. “In cases where there are signs of violation, we will work with families to educate students about the dangers of using drugs and tobacco in general, and Vape in particular.”

Vape firms have launched a lot of products with cheap prices to lure people.

A survey of Kinh te & Do thi Newspaper showed that people can easily find and buy Vape products on social networking sites. At some online stores, Vape products are disguised in the form of ballpoint pen, luminous pen, USB and lipstick with various flavors of strawberry, orange, mango, melon, watermelon and milk tea. They are publicly sold at the very cheap price of VND120,000-150,000 per unit.

According to WHO expert Nguyen Tuan Lam, almost Vape products contain poisonous substances such as nicotine, metal and formaldehyde. “As for adolescents, nicotine numbs the senses and causes loss of control, poor concentration and impaired memory.”

Lam said that the young people, who have tried vape, are possible to start using traditional cigarettes 3.5 times higher than those who do not. There are 15,000 flavors in Vape with some ingredients making addicted quickly, including cocaine and cannabis. “Vape is harmful to both users and surrounding people, in addition to a risk of serious injury due to battery explosion.”

A WHO global student health survey conducted in 21 cities and provinces of Vietnam in 2019 revealed that the rate of using Vape smoking among students aged 13-17 started to increase to 2.6% of the total, about 20 times higher than previous years.


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