A nationwide survey conducted by the Department of Health Services Support (DHSS) revealed that roughly 9.1 percent of young Thais use e-cigarettes, raising serious concerns among Thai public health officials, The Pattaya Post News reported on July 2.
Investigators collected responses from more than 60,000 respondents between April 25 and June 6, 2023, and the data show that 14.6 percent of young people in the Bangkok area use e-cigarettes, ranking first in the country.
The survey showed that 92.2 percent of the teens surveyed started using e-cigarettes because they were influenced by their friends. Meanwhile, 3.2 percent said family members introduced them to e-cigarette use, and 1.6 percent mentioned being guided by family members.
In addition, 43.9 percent admitted to using both cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
Meanwhile, another study cited by SurachetePhosaeng, deputy secretary general of the Thailand Youth Institute, showed that 95.4 percent of the 300 young people detained at youth practices and training centers across the country were smokers, with 79.3 percent using e-cigarettes.
And the Thai Center for Tobacco Control Research and Knowledge Management emphasized that minors who use e-cigarettes may develop health problems faster and more severely than adults because their bodies are still developing. Public health officials have expressed concern about the situation and urged young people to reject the influence of their peers and avoid using e-cigarettes or any tobacco products.
E-cigarette use is currently banned in Thailand, but organizations within the country that oppose the e-cigarette ban hope that the new Thai government will take new action to learn from international experience and scientific evidence after the 2023 elections. In scientific theory, this could help reduce the negative impact on smokers and protect minors from e-cigarette products.
Until then, WHO encourages the new Thai government to continue to ban the import and sale of e-cigarettes and various new types of tobacco. DHSS Deputy Director General Samart Thirasak said the department has launched media and other campaigns to discourage young people from smoking and has gained the support of youth health volunteer groups.