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E-cigs ‘no help to youths’

Younger smokers are more prone to the lure of e-cigarettes, a University of Hong Kong study suggests.

HKU researchers interviewed 469 of the 622 participants who joined the Youth Quitline between January 2014 and last April on their knowledge, attitude and practice of using e-cigarettes. About 60 percent have used e-cigarettes, with their mean age at 17.8 years.

Lam Tai-hing, chair professor of community medicine at HKU’s school of public health, said it shows younger smokers are more prone to the threat of e-cigarettes.

It was found they also have lower confidence in quitting and the nicotine dependence level was also significantly higher than for the rest of the youth smokers, which Lam said shows e-cigarettes cannot help smokers quit.

“Basically, other than nicotine, we do not know exactly what other toxic substances may be present,” Lam said, adding that e-cigarettes come in thousands of flavors and whose compositions are unknown.

He called on the government to speed up its work to bring a total ban on e-cigarettes.

Jointly established by the university and the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health, the scheme has helped 23.3 percent of participants kick the habit within the six-month follow-up period.

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