May 31, 2020, is the 33rd World No Tobacco Day.
The results of the 2019 Chinese Tobacco Survey of Students recently released show that the proportion of middle school students who smoked has dropped significantly in the past five years. But it is worth noting that the percentage of students who have heard of and used e-cigarettes has increased dramatically.
In 2019, the proportion of youths in China who have heard of e-cigarettes is 69.9%, and the usage rate of e-cigarettes is 2.7%; compared with 2014, they have increased by 24.9% and 1.5% respectively.
In contrast, the US FDA data shows that the usage rate of e-cigarettes for high school students is 27.5%, and 10.5% for junior high school students. Statistics in 2019 show that an estimated 4.1 million high school students and 1.2 million junior high school students use e-cigarettes.
Although the proportion of youth trying to smoke in China has dropped significantly in the past five years, there are still some worrying trends.
Young people smoking E-cigarettes, this seems to be becoming an international trend. As e-cigarette merchants often make gimmicks of “helping to quit smoking” and “clear lungs” and invite the most popular stars for advertising and marketing, they try to shape e-cigarette smoking as a fashion and even a popular culture, making more and more teenagers new A generation of “E-Cigarette Smokers.”
In fact, E-cigarette smokers have not suffered less damage than traditional smokers.
According to the WHO Global E-cigarette Epidemic Report 2019, e-cigarettes that claim to be less harmful than tobacco and that help quit smoking are not safe and healthy. Studies have shown that due to the toxic substances and pollutants contained in the smoke of the electronic nicotine delivery system, it can cause a series of pathological changes or poisoning in the human body, affect the function of the immune system, and lead to a decline in immunity, especially for E-cigarettes with aromatic additives.
In the days before World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organization issued a publicity poster on the Weibo platform for several consecutive days. Academician Zhong Nanshan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a well-known respiratory specialist, said that smoking and second-hand smoke are also one of the significant risk factors for respiratory diseases. China’s attitude toward tobacco control should also be more determined.
The rise of e-cigarettes has made supervision difficult. Nearly half of the e-cigarettes purchased by teenagers come from the Internet, and the challenge of surveillance can imagine. After the ban on the sale of e-cigarettes by relevant authorities in China was issued, it reported that many online shops have also turned to WeChat and other social platforms for sales, and even some convenience stores and tobacco sales shops continue to sell e-cigarettes to minors because of the ban. The purchase of brick-and-mortar stores has not explicitly prohibited, and it has undoubtedly left a fatal loophole for tobacco control.
Some people package e-cigarettes as a culture, while others consider it an emerging industry, but in front of the health of young people, these rhetoric are pale and absurd. Relevant experts revealed that in recent years, many countries had issued regulations prohibiting e-cigarettes and e-cigarette equipment, and Hong Kong and Macao in China have also banned e-cigarettes in general. Therefore, experts suggest, “I hope that the relevant departments can introduce a comprehensive ban on e-cigarettes as soon as possible. Otherwise, it will cause disastrous consequences.”