Experts in China call for the regulation of e-cigarettes

Sang Yarong China Plus Published: 2018-08-01 17:21:15
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Experts in China are calling for the control of electronic cigarettes, as the public lacks awareness of the potential health effects of vaping, reports

Invented by a Chinese pharmacist in 2003, e-cigarettes are commonly believed to be safer than tobacco cigarettes and may help smokers quit. But some experts are warning that e-cigarettes are not harmless, and have called into question their usefulness in helping people to stop smoking.

People use e-cigarettes at an exhibition center in Beijing on July 29, 2016. [File photo: IC]

People use e-cigarettes at an exhibition center in Beijing on July 29, 2016. [File photo: IC]

E-cigarettes usually contain nicotine, which makes second-hand smoke from e-cigarettes harmful, according to Zhang Jianshu, president of the Beijing Tobacco Control Association.

And Professor Cui Xiaobo from Capital Medical University said that e-cigarettes can be an ineffective smoking cessation aid. This is because breaking the addition to smoking involves breaking the addiction to nicotine, which is found in both regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Professor Cui also said that research shows young people start using e-cigarettes because they are fashionable, but then often start smoking regular cigarettes.

There are currently no regulations on e-cigarettes in China when it comes to tobacco control, health care, or production management. And the use of e-cigarettes is not prohibited in public places, because it is not categorized as a tobacco product.

The general public has started to pay more attention to the use of e-cigarettes after several recent incidents. Last month, an Air China co-pilot sent a plane into an emergency descent after he turned off the plane's air supply so he could use an e-cigarette. And earlier this week, a passenger used an e-cigarette in a Beijing subway carriage, sparking complaints.

"We are currently calling for the relevant departments to introduce a regulation to standardize and control e-cigarettes, and make it prohibited like tobacco is in public place," said Zhang Jianshu.

Some individual cities have taken steps to regulate e-cigarettes. In one example, authorities in Hangzhou have included inhaling or exhaling harmful vapor under the definition of smoking.

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