Vaping poses a new threat to the health of Kazakh adolescents. This issue has been repeatedly discussed both on the Internet and in the country’s government, Jibek Joly reports.
The Kazakh Health Ministry is concerned about the vaping boom among the teenagers. According to the relevant Ministry, the number of young vapers is rising as well as the number of unscrupulous entrepreneurs. Over 400 businesspeople were fined for the illegal sale of electronic smoking devices to teenagers and children.
One-time vaping has become popular among Kazakh teenagers. The number of adolescents between the ages of 13 to 15 who smoke e-cigarettes has increased threefold in the country. Experts say that having followed the trend, young people are unaware of the serious health effects of such a pastime.
“The accelerated development of the limbic system, imitation of each other and the desire to be like their peers are quite typical for adolescents. Their psyche is not fully formed yet, and this in turn carries various kinds of risks, therefore they do such things unconsciously. They are starting to use electronic vapes in order to fit in with their peers. They believe that this is a harmless device, but do not take into account its negative consequences,” said school psychologist Gulnar Altynbayeva.
It is not hard at all for teenagers to obtain such a dangerous device. There is a wide variety of them on store shelves or shop windows. There is also no monitoring over the sale of smoking devices to teenagers on social media. According to the Legal Statistics Committee, in the first half of the year alone, about six million tenge of fines were collected from businesspeople for selling vape products to Kazakh residents under the age of 21. A total of over 400 such offenses have been recorded to date.
“While there is no approved technical regulation, of course, we cannot require the certificate or the declaration of conformity. In this regard, the Sanitary and Epidemiological Control Committee takes measures to implement the adopted national standards with our testing laboratories as far as possible. Once accreditation is achieved, our National Center of Expertise will be able to determine the nicotine content in vapes and, accordingly, we will apply measures to prohibit the turnover through state supervision,” Rozalina Yermekpayeva, spokesperson for the Kazakh Ministry of Digital Development, Innovations and Aerospace Industry, said.
Experts note that technical regulation is a measure aimed at ensuring the safety of a particular product. At the same time, a study of the harm and negative impact of vapes has not been conducted in Kazakhstan yet. According to European experts, this single session of e-cigarettes use contains heavy metals and psychotropic substances. For this reason, the Kazakh Health Ministry brought up for discussion the need to introduce a ban on the sale, use and turnover of electronic cigarettes to adolescents. Kazakh residents can make their proposals on the Ministry’s website.