A recent survey conducted by the Department of Health Service Support (DHSS) has revealed that approximately 9.1% of young people in Thailand are using e-cigarettes, prompting serious health concerns among public health officials.
The nationwide survey, which gathered responses from 61,688 individuals between April 25 and June 6, 2023, shed light on the worrying trend of e-cigarette use among the youth. The survey findings disclosed that 14.6% of young people in Bangkok reported using vapes, indicating 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.
Following closely with a rate of 13.2%, AH No.4, encompassing Ayutthaya, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, and Nakhon Nayok, raised concerns about the prevalence of e-cigarette use. In AH No.5, consisting of Bueng Kan, Loei, Nong Khai, Nong Bua Lam Phu, Udon Thani, Nakhon Phanom, and Sakon Nakhon, the rate remained alarmingly high at 12%.
The survey further revealed that 92.2% of the young individuals surveyed started using e-cigarettes due to peer influence. Meanwhile, 3.2% cited family members and 1.6% mentioned immediate family as their introduction to vaping. Shockingly, 43.9% admitted to using both cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
Another study, mentioned by Surachete Phosaeng, deputy secretary-general of the Thailand Youth Institute, highlighted that among 300 young people detained for narcotic use at juvenile practice and training centers nationwide, 95.4% were smokers, with 79.3% specifically using e-cigarettes. Of the latter group, 30.5% reported daily usage.
The Tobacco Control Research and Knowledge Management Center emphasized that minors who use vaping devices may experience health issues that develop faster and are more severe than those observed in adults, as their bodies are still in the developmental stage. Public health officials have expressed deep concern about this situation and are urging young people to resist the influence of their peers, avoid using e-cigarettes or any tobacco products, and prioritize their health and well-being.