A study published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that adolescents using e-cigarettes were more likely to initiate the use of combustible tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars and hookah.
The study recruited 2,530 students from 10 public high schools in Los Angeles who reported never using combustible tobacco, in which 222 students were ever e-cigarette users and 2,308 were never e-cigarette users. The study re-assessed their smoking status after 6 and 12 months. 30.7% and 25.2% of the ever e-cigarette users reported the initiation of combustible tobacco use at 6 months and 12 months respectively, which were 22.7% and 15.9% higher than never e-cigarette users.
The finding indicated that e-cigarettes could introduce youth to tobacco use. It serves as a gateway to smoking and possibly addiction to tobacco use. Safety and efficacy of e-cigarette are not proven. In Hong Kong, there is no regulation on the e-cigarettes’ ingredients, sales and promotion, etc. The general public is misled and would underestimate the harms of e-cigarettes. Youngsters can easily interact and purchase e-cigarettes at retail outlets and shopping centres, or through online platforms.
To prevent youngsters from initiating smoking and safeguard public health, COSH supports the Government to immediately impose a total ban on the sales, advertising, promotion and sponsorship, distribution, importation and manufacturing of e-cigarettes