Flavored and e-cigarettes affect minors' health in Taiwan: HPA

2019/01/12 14:28:23 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Flavored and e-cigarettes affect minors' health in Taiwan: HPA

Taipei, Jan. 12 (CNA) Despite the overall smoking rate on the island falling in recent years, both flavored and electronic cigarettes are tempting Taiwan's young people into smoking and harming their health, while many youngsters are exposed to secondhand smoke, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said.

In a statement released on Friday, the HPA said the smoking rate of junior high school students dropped from 7.8 percent to 2.8 percent between 2008 and 2018, and that of senior high school students decreased from 14.8 percent to 8 percent between 2007 and 2018.

This reflects a trend across Taiwan of fewer people smoking. The smoking rate for Taiwanese adults has also decreased, from 21.9 percent in 2008 to 13 percent in 2018.

However, four out of 10 teenagers in Taiwan smoke flavored cigarettes, with more girls using the products than boys, and it is estimated that more than 38,000 minors smoke e-cigarettes, HPA said, citing the country's 2018 Youth Tobacco Survey (YTS).

Calling these tobacco products "sugar-coated poison," the HPA said that their flavors and trendy designs could create a false impression that they are relatively harmless or less addictive compared to traditional cigarettes, but both types of products contain nicotine and can affect people's health.

HPA Director-General Wang Ying-wei (王英偉), citing scientific research, pointed out that e-cigarettes not only cause cancer, asthma and stroke, but also pose a threat of explosion.

Meanwhile, the HPA added the survey found some 30 percent of teenagers are exposed to household secondhand smoke, with half of them exposed to cigarette smoke on a daily basis. This is harmful to their health, Wang said, urging adults and parents to quit smoking to ensure a safe and healthy family environment.

"One person smoking is equal to the whole family smoking," said Wang.

He added that smoking indoors is also a main reason for household air pollution, with the concentration of PM2.5 pollutants rising 10 times higher if there is a smoker at home.

(By Chi Jo-yao)
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