About 97 percent of parents responding to a survey want all novel tobacco products banned, a civic organization said yesterday, adding that an estimated 73,000 teenagers in Taiwan use e-cigarettes or other such products.
The survey, conducted by the National Alliance of Parents Organizations, showed that the majority of parents were unsatisfied with a proposal to ban only some novel tobacco products, the alliance said at a news conference in Taipei, which was held to coincide with Children’s Day yesterday.
An amendment that is being officially reviewed would ban conventional oil-based e-cigarettes, but allow the sale of heated tobacco products, which heat processed tobacco leaves, it said.
Allowing the sale of heated tobacco products would be a loophole that could potentially cause harm to Taiwanese teenagers, it said, adding that this would work against years of efforts to limit tobacco use among Taiwanese minors.
The survey found that 97.5 percent of respondents wanted conventional e-cigarettes banned, 95.5 percent wanted heated tobacco products banned, and 96.7 percent wanted all types of novel tobacco products banned, it said.
In Japan, South Korea and most US states, where all novel tobacco products are legal to sell to adults, the number of adolescents using such products rose sharply within a few years of their entry to the market, it said.
A similar trend is being observed in Taiwan. There were about 57,000 young people in 2019 reporting regular use of conventional e-cigarettes, and 16,000 using heated tobacco products — a total of 73,000 teenagers using novel tobacco products, it said.
“Although cigarette use has declined, we are seeing an overall increase in the use of tobacco products,” National Taiwan University Hospital physician Kuo Fei-ran (郭斐然) said.
A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study in 2020 found that e-cigarettes were the cause of at least 2,807 people being hospitalized for lung damage, and 68 deaths in the US the previous year, he said.
A Japanese study also showed that heated tobacco products present the same level of risk of lung damage from acute pneumonia as e-cigarettes, he said.
The survey was conducted over 12 days from March 13 to March 25, and collected 3,541 valid samples, the alliance said.
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