Amid the increasing popularity of e-cigarettes at schools, Taichung city councilors are urging the city government to follow Hsinchu City’s and New Taipei City’s lead by drafting an ordinance to prohibit vaping for students under the age of 18.
Taichung City Councilor Chu Nuan-ying (朱暖英) said that, unlike smoking cigarettes, vaping involves inhaling a vaporized liquid mixed with distinctive flavors from an electronic device, and has become popular among young students.
Many adults do not know what e-cigarettes contain, and the same is true for underage students, she added.
About 38,000 junior-high and high-school students have tried e-cigarettes, Health Promotion Administration data showed.
For high-school and vocational school students, the percentage who use e-cigarettes increased from 1.9 percent in 2014 to 3.5 percent last year.
E-cigarettes are not subject to the Tobacco Hazard Prevention Act (菸害防制法), as vaporized liquids, also known as e-liquids, do not meet the definition of a “cigarette” as stated in the act, Chu said.
Some manufacturers might add drugs or other addictive substances into e-liquids to increase sales, raising serious concern about the health risks, she said, adding that the Taichung Education Bureau should help teachers, students and parents gain a proper understanding of e-cigarettes and their contents.
Taichung City Counselor Hsu Hsuan-feng (徐瑄灃) said the bureau should include e-cigarettes into the Chun-hui Project — a campaign launched by the central government in 1990 to prevent the use of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs and betel nuts at schools — and ban students from using new types of devices, such as e-cigarettes or heat-not-burn tobacco products.
In response, the bureau said the city government has launched workshops and lectures to equip teachers and students with sufficient knowledge of how cigarette and e-cigarettes harm the body.
It added that it has drafted an ordinance to prevent e-cigarette hazards, saying that if the law is passed, e-cigarettes would be banned from use on all campuses.
The bureau would demand that each school incorporate e-cigarette regulations into its own rules as well, it added.
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