E-Cigarettes Gain Popularity in Taiwan

Youth smoking is up for the first time in a decade, according to government figures. Photo: Taco Tuinstra

The number of young Taiwanese people smoking rose for the first time in a decade in 2019, reports Taiwan News, citing a report by the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Health Promotion Administration.

Remarkably, considering that e-cigarettes are illegal in Taiwan, the popularity of vaping rose by half.

An estimated 81,000 young Taiwanese smoked combustible cigarettes last year, while 57,000 youths vaped, Central News Agency (CAN) reported.

The survey found that the proportion of junior high school students with a smoking habit rose from 2.8 percent in 2018 to 3 percent in 2019, and the proportion of senior high school students from 8 percent to 8.4 percent.

Four out of every 10 young smokers smoke flavored cigarettes, which are more popular with women, the study discovered. The most popular motivator to start smoking cited was curiosity, followed by “seeing other people smoke,” parents smoking and the desire to relieve pressure.

The popularity of vaping among young people surged from 2.7 percent in 2018 to 4.2 percent last year, with male senior high school students the most likely category to use e-cigarettes.