《TAIPEI TIMES》 Education ministry calls on schools to ban e-cigarettes
Ministry of Education guidelines for schools on the prohibition of e-cigarettes on school premises are pictured in an undated photograph. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Education
By Rachel Lin and Liu Tzu-hsuan / Staff reporter, with staff writer
The Ministry of Education has called on schools at all levels to update their regulations and ban e-cigarette use on school property.
K-12 Education Administration Division Head Huang Ching-i yesterday said that the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act （菸害防制法） already prohibits smoking cigarettes at high-school level and below.
However, while young children and teenagers are aware of the health risks of cigarettes, they are liable to misunderstand the dangers of novel e-cigarettes, given that they are promoted as “healthier,” “free from secondhand smoke” and “helpful for quitting smoking cigarettes,” she said.
Huang said that people or companies who manufacture, import or sell e-cigarettes containing nicotine are in contravention of the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act （藥事法） and could face imprisonment.
Those who make false claims about any supposed benefits of e-cigarettes could face a fine, and their products would be confiscated and destroyed, she added.
Huang said her division has commissioned National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University to develop teaching materials for e-cigarette avoidance.
Such materials could help teachers understand the types of harm caused by additives in e-cigarettes. which are sometimes illegal, along with the risks for addiction.
It also asked schools to update their regulations to ban staff and students from possessing and using e-cigarettes, and to implement a monitoring mechanism to trace the sources of e-cigarettes in schools, she said, adding that education about such products should be included in school curricula.
The ministry plans to introduce new policies to prevent students from being exposed to the hazards of smoking, she said.