E-cigarette use in Taiwan has tripled since 2018, reports The Taipei Times, citing a study by the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Health Promotion Administration (HPA).
In 2018, e-cigarette use was at 0.6 percent; in 2020, that rate grew to 1.7 percent, according to the study, which looked at responses from 25,000 people 18 years and older.
The highest e-cigarette use rates were found in men ages 26 to 30, at 6.3 percent, and women ages 21 to 25, at 4.6 percent.
“To put this growth into perspective, use of traditional cigarettes grew only marginally over this period, from 13 percent in 2018 to 13.1 percent in 2020,” said Lu Meng-ying, HPA Tobacco Control Division official. “The situation needs urgent attention, especially as new e-cigarette users are almost all young people.”
Most respondents said they use e-cigarettes out of curiosity while 17.3 percent use them to quit smoking combustible cigarettes and 9.7 percent use them because friends use them.
Use of flavored tobacco products is increasing as well, from 8.2 percent in 2018 to 15.6 percent in 2020. Majority of the increase was seen in women.
“There are more than 1,200 additives used in flavored tobacco products, and the vast majority of them are chemically derived,” Lu said. “The goal of manufacturers is to prevent new smokers, especially young women, from being turned off by foul smells.” He added that the effects of long-term use of flavored products are not well understood.