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Youth in Pakistan Lured by E-Cigarettes: Health Risks on the Rise

Upon speaking with addicted youth, it becomes evident that the variety of flavors in e-cigarettes is a significant attraction.
by TNN Editor - 05 Dec, 2023 1657
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Khalida Niaz

A growing number of young people in Pakistan are turning to e-cigarettes, sparking concerns about increased tobacco use and health risks.

While some believe e-cigarettes can help quit regular smoking, medical experts caution against their addictive nicotine content, emphasizing that they may perpetuate smoking habits rather than curb them.

Upon speaking with addicted youth, it becomes evident that the variety of flavors in e-cigarettes is a significant attraction. The lack of odor further entices many young users, allowing them to use it discreetly, masking their habit from their families, albeit temporarily.

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E-cigarettes, predominantly accessible online, feature packaging and designs deliberately crafted to appeal to young consumers. The absence of regulations in Pakistan regarding e-cigarettes, including age restrictions and sales policies, compounds the issue.

One user explained that traditional cigarettes emit an unpleasant odor, whereas e-cigarettes offer flavors like apples, grapes, and chocolates, concealing any unpleasant smells and intensifying the addictive experience. Some even perceive it as a fashion statement.

With e-cigarettes readily available, especially to unsupervised students in hostels, the lack of rules and regulations in Pakistan raises concerns. Globally, smoking claims the lives of approximately 8 million people annually, a significant portion being young individuals.

E-Cigarettes Unchecked in Pakistan: Youth Vulnerability Grows

Blue Veins, dedicated to preventing e-cigarette use, highlights the accessibility and dangers of these products in Pakistan. Sana, program coordinator at Blue Veins, expresses worry over the absence of laws and regulations, emphasizing that the unregulated availability targets the country's large youth population.

Sana points out that the ease of access, particularly through online platforms, amplifies the reach of e-cigarettes among young people. Advocating for regulation or even a ban, she underscores the responsibility of the government and relevant institutions in safeguarding the youth from e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.