Make vaping, smoking e-cigarettes a serious school offence

Dr Annuar Rapaee

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, July 23: Vaping or smoking e-cigarettes in school should be made a serious offence to curb the habit among students.

Assistant Education and Technological Research Minister Dr Annuar Rapee said although his ministry did not have statistics on the trend of vaping among school students in Sarawak, he warned that smoking was one of the worst habits among the youths.

“We don’t have the figure of students caught using vape products but of course, smokers can be detected when they go for a medical examination,” he told DayakDaily when contacted today.

Dr Annuar was commenting on media reports on the increasingly prevalent use of vapes among school students, irrespective of gender.

“Smoking is one of the worst habits which could lead to a lot of problems especially health-wise and socially. Perhaps students are ignorant about the implications on health from smoking, including electronic cigarettes,” he said.

Dr Annuar urged schools to raise the issue during assemblies, as well as working persistently on creating greater awareness among students about the dangers and risk of smoking.

“Smoking is a burden not only financially but also on health. Schools should view vaping as a very serious disciplinary offence,” he said.

Meanwhile, federal Health Ministry has set up a task force to tackle vaping and e-cigarette issues, which will focus efforts on checking the sale of such products to students.

Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye, who headed the taskforce, said the trend of selling vape products and e-cigarettes to students was worrying.

“So we are using this task force to study how to control the use of such products, especially those who are under 18,” he said.

He added that the task force would start work soon to draw up laws to control vaping and e-cigarettes, with the Bills expected to be tabled by the end of this year or early next year.

The Ministry also called for closer cooperation among enforcement agencies including Customs Department, as well as the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) at the borders to prevent the influx of electronic cigarettes or vape products into the country.

The Education Ministry, in a statement, said they will work with KPDNHEP to address the problem of electronic cigarettes and vape products being sold to school children. — DayakDaily