Parents flaring up about e-cigarettes

Local | Phoenix Un 9 Jul 2018

Most parents asked for views on e-cigarettes want them banned outright rather than legalized with warnings and restrictions.

Eighty-two percent of 3,374 parents who responded to a survey called for the ban in the wake of a proposal last month to amend the current Smoking (Public Health) Ordinance to regulate e-cigarettes and herbal smoking products.

Suggestions now include prohibitions on sales to youngsters, packages with health warnings and indications of harmful substances, and taxation if there is a tobacco component.

But concern groups criticized the government for backing off from original intentions, claiming officials had agreed with the Council on Smoking and Health in 2015 that e-cigarettes should be banned totally.

The Committee on Home-School Co-operation and the Federations of Parent-Teacher Associations distributed questions to parents of students in kindergartens, primary and secondary schools on the issues at the end of June and the beginning of this month.

Of the 3,374 responses, 69 percent of parents agreed the new products would be attractive to youngsters, 67 percent worried their children would resort to e-cigarettes, 60 percent were afraid e-cigarettes would make their children eventually turn to traditional cigarettes, and 43 percent said the new products would make it harder to sense their children smoked.

On top of the 82 percent wanting a ban on new products, 83 percent called for officials to draft a schedule for a ban on all tobacco.

The two groups have now urged the Food and Health Bureau to follow those lines.

The chairman of the Committee on Home-School Co-operation, Henry Tong Sau-chai, said he is disappointed officials have backed of a total ban on e-cigarettes.

Leung Siu-tong, president of the Federation of Parent-Teacher Associations of Islands District, believes some parents do not know much about e-cigarettes, so efforts to raise awareness of harm are needed.

A counselor named Leung on the University of Hong Kong Youth Quitline said more youngsters now use e-cigarettes. One or two out of 10 youngsters who contacted the Quitline used e-cigarettes four years ago, he added, but now it was about four or five out of every 10.

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