Popularity of e-cigarettes among children is alarming

LETTERS: It took us six decades of research to discern the dangers of cigarettes, identifying the 7,000 inhaled chemicals that impact our lungs.

With e-cigarettes, it is too early to categorically say that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, as research regarding their long-term effects is still underway.

Even so, e-cigarettes have been linked to cigarette-related diseases, including heart disease and lung cancer.

They can cause diseases unique to e-cigarette use, such as e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury and bronchiolitis obliterans, commonly known as "popcorn lung".

E-cigarette users, unlike traditional cigarette smokers, tend to consume more due to a lack of a natural stopping point. The ease of use, lack of smell, and lack of need for a lighter allow for more frequent use.

The worst-case scenario is when users use both e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes, resulting in harm amplification rather than reduction.

This year's World No Tobacco Day theme is "Protecting Children from Tobacco Industry Interference", and one of the tactics used by the tobacco industry to influence policymaking that will affect future generations is the promotion of misleading harm reduction strategies.

The popularity of e-cigarettes among children is alarming.

Government surveys show higher e-cigarette use among secondary school students (14.9 per cent) than the national average (5.8 per cent).

This was never the case with traditional cigarettes, where the highest prevalence was among those aged 25 to 44.

The Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Act 2024 is a welcome change as it regulates these products.

Following the act, it is hoped that future regulations will address these issues so that our children can be protected from tobacco products.


Exco Smokefree IKRAM, IKRAM Health

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

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