BANGKOK (NNT) – A survey has found that around 9.1% of young people in Thailand use e-cigarettes, raising serious health concerns from public health officials.
The nationwide survey, conducted by the Department of Health Service Support (DHSS), gathered responses from 61,688 individuals between April 25 and June 6, 2023. The survey results indicated that 14.6% of young people in Bangkok reported using vapes, marking the highest rate among the 13 areas studied.
The survey identified two areas where the rate of e-cigarette use stood at 13.6%, ranking them second on the list. These areas were AH No.3, comprising Chai Nat, Kamphaeng Phet, Nakhon Sawan, Pichit, and Uthai Thani provinces, and AH No.9, which includes Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima, Burirum, and Surin.
AH No.4, encompassing Ayutthaya, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, and Nakhon Nayok, followed with a slightly lower rate of 13.2%. In AH No.5, consisting of Bueng Kan, Loei, Nong Khai, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Udon Thani, Nakhon Phanom, and Sakon Nakhon, the rate remains frighteningly high at 12%.
The survey found that 92.2% of the young individuals surveyed started using e-cigarettes because of their friends. Meanwhile, 3.2 percent cited family members and 1.6% mentioned immediate family as their introduction to vaping. Moreover, 43.9% admitted to using both cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
Another study cited by Surachete Phosaeng, deputy secretary-general of the Thailand Youth Institute, revealed that 95.4% of 300 young people detained for narcotic use at juvenile practice and training centers nationwide were smokers, with 79.3% using e-cigarettes. 30.5% of the latter group indicated daily usage.
The Tobacco Control Research and Knowledge Management Center stressed that minors who use vaping devices may have health issues that develop faster and are more intense than those in adults as their bodies are still growing. Public health officials have expressed concern about the situation and urged young people to resist the influence of their peers and avoid using e-cigarettes or any tobacco products.