Alarming number of children picking up vaping

IPOH: The Malaysian Paediatric Association (MPA) has expressed concern over the growing number of children vaping following viral videos showing kids taking a puff.

Its president Dr Hung Liang Choo said such a trend was worrying, pointing to several videos being circulated online showing children using e-cigarettes.

“E-cigarettes and e-liquid may contain nicotine, artificial flavouring, colouring and hundreds of toxic chemicals and heavy metals.

“Even more compounds are created when these chemicals are heated and vapourised during vaping, ” she said.

These chemicals, said Dr Hung, posed serious health risks as they could damage the lungs and were carcinogenic.

She was commenting on a recent video of a woman who allegedly gave her two-year-old child a puff on an electronic cigarette, and uploaded the video on social media.

While the woman has since apologised, a video of two very young boys vaping had also gone viral.

Dr Hung said nicotine was a highly addictive substance, which could affect brain development in babies, children and adolescents.

“Early exposure to e-cigarettes and vaping may be the gateway to the use of cigarettes, stronger nicotine products and even pot (marijuana).

“It is important for the government to ban e-cigarettes and vaping to protect children and adolescents from their harmful effects, ” she said.

Dr Hung said marketing gimmicks such as various flavours and attractive devices for vaping were also appealing.

She urged parents to be aware of what their children were up to, and to know the harmful effects of e-cigarettes and vaping.

In partnership with the Malaysian Association of Adolescent Health, MPA will be conducting a tobacco control advocacy programme in secondary schools soon.

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