Electronic cigarettes are placed on a shelf for sale in a store in Prague, Czech Republic, January 31, 2019. Many experts have proposed banning electronic cigarette sales, production and advertising in Vietnam


Speaking at the seminar on new-generation tobacco management policy held by the Ministry of Health on March 5, Nguyen Tuan Lam, a representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Vietnam, said that electronic cigarettes, instead of acting as a tool to help smokers wean off combustible cigarettes, were encouraging youths to start smoking.

A study cited by Lam found that the number of teens who used electronic cigarettes before switching to traditional cigarettes and becoming addicted had more than tripled.

The WHO also warned against flavored electronic cigarette products, the local media reported.

Numerous harmful ingredients and chemicals are found in the solution and smoke of electronic cigarettes, affecting not only smokers but everyone around them.

As such, it is necessary to ban the smoking of electronic cigarettes indoors, Lam explained.

Tran Thi Trang, deputy head of the Ministry of Health’s Legal Department, said that the department will propose the Government impose a ban on the sale, production and import of electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products.

Addressing the seminar, Le Thi Thu from HealthBridge Canada in Vietnam also expressed concern over the rising use of electronic cigarettes across the world.

From 2011 to 2018, the United States saw the number of teenage electronic cigarette smokers rise from 1.5% to an alarming level of 27.5%. In 2018, one-third of electronic cigarette users were teenagers.

In Vietnam, electronic cigarette smokers account for 1.1% of the population, she said.

Vietnam has yet to issue any policy on the management of the new generation cigarette, while these products are being sold and advertised widely on the Internet, Thu added.

The competent agencies should take action against the wide sale of electronic cigarettes on the local market, Thu said, adding that it is necessary to consider banning the sale, production and advertising of this product in Vietnam.

Most participating representatives proposed Vietnam introduce a ban on new-generation cigarettes and keep a close watch on various factors related to the product.

Nguyen Huy Quang, head of the Ministry of Health’s Legal Department, noted that importing, trading and using electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco have yet to be approved by the Government. SGT