Anti-smoking group calls for total ban on e-cigarettes

Local | Staff reporter 1 Mar 2016

The statutory body Council on Smoking and Health has called for a total ban on the sale of e-cigarettes in Hong Kong, after laboratory tests showed they contain harmful chemicals..

COSH said carcinogens and other harmful substances have been found in e-cigarettes during laboratory tests and a total ban is necessary to safeguard public health.

A wide variety of e-cigarettes are now available via various channels and are mainly targeting youngsters, COSH said.

However, most of them neither provide details on components nor carry health warnings.

COSH commissioned Hong Kong Baptist University to carry out a laboratory test on the components of 13 e-cigarettes in the market from October 2015 to February 2016.

The test confirmed that e-cigarettes contain harmful chemicals including formaldehyde, glycerin, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and poly-brominated diphenyl ethers.

Formaldehyde and PAHs are known carcinogens that are hazardous to health.

The School of Public Health of the University of Hong Kong was commissioned by COSH to conduct the Tobacco Control Policy-related Survey 2015 to monitor prevalence of e-cigarette use and measure public opinion on its ban in the territory.

Its Public Opinion Programme interviewed more than 5,000 respondents.

They included 1,834 who never smoked, 1,712 ex-smokers and 1,706 current smokers, from April to October 2015.

The survey found that 85.4 percent had heard of e-cigarettes compared to 75.4 percent in 2014. About 0.9 percent had used e-cigarettes.

Although only 0.2 percent had used e-cigarettes in the 30 days before the poll, the rate (7.9 percent) among young current smokers aged 15 to 29 years was significantly higher than that of current smokers aged 30 years or above.

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