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Children lured into vaping by fathers, brothers: CAP

GEORGE TOWN: Findings by the  Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) have revealed that children are being lured into vaping by their fathers and elder brothers.

CAP anti-smoking activist and education officer N.V. Subbarow said a significant number of children they met during an awareness programme on smoking, vaping and the use of e-cigarettes in selected primary and secondary schools here, admitted they did not buy any vape or e-cigarette gadgets but tasted the vape liquid juices from their fathers or elder brothers, who had indirectly lured them to give it a try. 

He said these children, aged between 9 and 12, admitted that they frequently tried their fathers and elder brothers’ vape or e-cigarettes while at home or in the car.

“Most of the children admitted that this was how they had tried to vape. In fact, they were not smokers before this.

“Their fathers and elder brothers regularly used these products at home or while driving. They would then casually give their vape gadgets to the children who were seated beside them at home, in the car or while on an outing. 

When offering the vape, they always say it is fruit juice, so there’s no need to worry, when the actual content is nicotine.

“They also admitted that their male siblings suggested they try vaping, even though they sometimes refused or said no to vaping. 

“Out of 300 children CAP met during the ‘no nicotine for kids’ programmes recently, about 200 of them admitted that they vaped up to twice a week,” he said today.

Vaping is the act of inhaling the vapour produced by an e-cigarette or vaporiser.  E-cigarettes are dangerous and addictive. 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are 16,000 types of vape flavours in the market that contain health-impacting chemicals. 

During the CAP-organised awareness programmes, Subbarow said the children admitted that they believed that the vape juice was made of fruits or sweets.

Some children and adults, however, agreed that they were still interested in trying it even though they realised it was poison. 

“During CAP’s programme, female children and students were also found to be attracted to the vaping culture. 

“Out of four children, one female child is addicted. In secondary schools, the ratio is 6 to 2 for female students,” he added.

According to Subbarow, CAP strongly feels that what the fathers and elder brothers are doing is an offence. 

He said it was a form of “child abuse” because the young family members were fed nicotine-containing juices. 

“Children as young as eight are putting their health at risk by vaping. The sweet-flavoured, colourful sticks are appealing to children. Vape cartridges have names and flavours that make them sound like candy, such as mint chocolate, mango and frozen lime drop.

“Nicotine acts directly on the brain and has a harmful effect on health. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that the use of e-cigarettes is unsafe for kids, teens and young adults.

“Paediatricians say nicotine may be more harmful to adolescents than adults. Nicotine may harm the developing brain. Not only are teens more susceptible to addiction, but vaping can affect their ability to concentrate, learn and exercise. 

“Studies have linked nicotine exposure to cognitive deficits, memory and executive function impairment, increased impulsivity, hyperactivity, aggression and suicidal ideation. Vapers also experience persistent coughs, bronchitis, congestion and phlegm more frequently,” he noted.

WHO does not recommend vaping and stressed that vaping was a gateway for teens and young adults to start using other addictive substances. 

Hence, Subbarow said,  authorities must take stern action against adults who gave nicotine-based juices to kids.

“CAP urges the school administrations to allow non-governmental organisations (NGO) like CAP to meet with students to talk about the dangers of smoking, vaping, e-cigarettes and nicotine-containing juices.

“CAP is worried that if no urgent action is taken, more children and secondary school students will become addicted to vaping, and their health and future will be jeopardised,” he said.

Source: New Straits Times

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