More Chinese students using e-cigarettes
Published: Jun 01, 2022 01:39 AM
E-cigarettes are sold in a shopping mall in Shanghai on December 27, 2021. Photo: VCG

E-cigarettes are sold in a shopping mall in Shanghai on December 27, 2021. Photo: VCG

Nearly 5 percent of Chinese students in middle schools have the habit of smoking and 3.6 percent of the group use e-cigarettes regularly, according to a survey conducted in 2021 by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China's CDC). The data was released on Tuesday, the World No Tobacco Day, along with other reports that demonstrate an increasing tendency of Chinese minors to use e-cigarettes.

The survey covered 270,000 students in middle schools and took back 124,119 questionnaires from college students in 31 province-level places in the Chinese mainland, according to the China's CDC.
The latest survey of the China's CDC showed that 23.2 percent of male Chinese students in middle schools have tried to smoke and the rate among female students who tried so is 9.5 percent.
The rates among male and female Chinese middle school students who keep the habits of smoking are 7.1 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively. And 35.7 percent of the 270,000 respondents think it is difficult to quit smoking once starting to smoke, according to the China's CDC's latest survey.
As to e-cigarettes, 86.6 percent of middle school students said they have heard of it, 16.1 percent have ever tried and 3.6 percent are still using.
Although China have banned selling cigarettes to underage youngsters, more than 77 percent of the smokers in middle schools said they have not been refused when buying cigarettes and 70.8 percent of underage e-cigarettes buyers said that have not been refused.    
Other surveys issued on the same day showed that, with the strict bans, Chinese underage students have showed a declining tendency in using cigarettes while an increasing tendency in using e-cigarettes.
For example, data revealed by the Shanghai authority on Tuesday showed that the rate of local middle students who regularly smoke declined from 1.4 percent in 2019 to 1 percent in 2021. However, that of middle students who smoke e-cigarettes increased from 1.2 percent in 2019 to 1.7 percent in 2021.  
Nearly 6.5 percent of students in Shanghai middle schools have ever tried e-cigarettes in 2021, while the rate in 2019 was 4.9 percent.
China has issued a number of bans since 2018 to protect minors from e-cigarettes. The amendment to China's Law on the Protection of Minors took effect on the International Children's Day on June 1, 2021. The revised law includes a section for the protection of the health of minors that prohibits parents from encouraging kids to smoke e-cigarettes. 
In Chinese colleges, 15 percent of the male students used to smoke in 2021 while the rate of female students was just 1.1 percent, according to the China's CDC's latest survey.
Among the college smokers, 52.5 percent plan to quit smoking in the upcoming 12 months and 33 percent have tried to quit smoking in the past 12 months.
About half of the college smokers spend more than 16 yuan ($2.4) to buy a pack of cigarettes in 2021, which is higher than the Chinese adult smokers' 9.9 yuan average spending on one pack of cigarettes in 2018.
More than 90 percent of college students have heard of and more than 10 percent have tried it while 2.5 percent use it regularly in 2021, according to the China's CDC's latest survey.
According to data revealed by the Chinese education ministry in 2021, as of 2020, there were about 900 million students in middle schools and nearly 42 million college students in the Chinese mainland.