Most users of vape or e-cigarettes are unaware of their harmful impact on health, a recent study has found.
The study conducted by Dhaka Ahsania Mission has also found that e-cigarette users do not even know whether it contains nicotine. Fifteen of 23 people who participated in the survey think e-cigarettes have less nicotine than traditional cigarettes.
The findings of the study were revealed at a press conference on Monday at the National Press Club in the capital.
The study involving 23 students of Dhaka University and North South University in January 2020 found that most of them think vaping will help them quit smoking. Some 65% of users apparently use e-cigarettes for their taste and flavour, with a variety of flavours to choose from.
Ahsania Mission's Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids initiative presented the study findings at the press briefing.
The study found that users first learnt of e-cigarettes either on social media or from friends and peers who were users already.
According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey-2017, 6.4% adults in Bangladesh have heard about e-cigarettes, 0.4% have tried e-cigarettes, and 0.2% are active users. E-cigarettes contain Acetaldehyde, Formaldehyde (known carcinogen), Acrolein (toxin), Nickel, Chromium, Lead and at least 80 other harmful elements.
At the press briefing, Dr Hayatun Nabi said, "Since emerging tobacco products [vaping, e-cigarettes] have come to market, tobacco uses and tobacco marketing strategy have significantly changed. Recently, the World Health Organization has identified e-cigarettes as harmful products."
"The Smoking and Tobacco Use (Control) Act, 2005, and the amended act in 2013, mention nothing about e-cigarettes, which is unfortunate," he said, adding, "The government should amend the existing law and implement it strictly."
Dr Md Abdul Aziz MP, who attended the programme, said, "The use of tobacco products is having a negative impact on people's health, the national economy, and the environment."
Dr Arup Ratan Choudhury said, "Although e-cigarettes are banned in neighbouring India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand and Singapore, use of e-cigarettes is gradually increasing in our country. The use of e-cigarettes is harmful for our youth and is making them more susceptible to using drugs."
The government must take immediate steps to curb the export-import, marketing, and use of emerging tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, he recommended.