Vaping

Published Date: 11 May 2021 06:00 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Sharael Taha, Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) how many cases of vaping in schools have been reported yearly since the ban on electronic vaporisers in 2018; (b) what more can be done in schools to educate our youths on the dangers of using electronic vaporisers; and (c) what actions have been taken on those who supply electronic vaporisers or e-cigarettes to the students in secondary schools and junior colleges.

Response

1. About six in every 1,000 students in primary and secondary schools, junior colleges and centralised institute were caught for smoking or vaping offences annually. We do not have the breakdown of vaping cases.

2. Students are educated on the harmful effects of smoking and vaping through the school curriculum, and they are reminded that vaping at any age, and underaged smoking are illegal. In primary and secondary schools, students are taught that all tobacco products are harmful and can adversely affect their health and fitness. Students also learn Singapore’s laws and regulations regarding smoking and vaping, and the consequences on individuals, families and the society. We will monitor the trend, work with the Health Promotion Board (HPB) and continue to refresh the teaching materials.

3. Students are also equipped with skills to say 'no' to those who offer them harmful substances, including electronic cigarettes. They learn to recognise impulsive and addictive behaviours that harm one's mental and physical well-being, as well as strategies for self control and managing negative peer influences. Through the lessons, students are encouraged to make responsible decisions by considering how their actions can affect themselves and others. HPB also supports interactive educational programmes for all students, provides training for teachers, and pushes useful information to students through the HealthHub website and mobile application.

4. When students are caught using or possessing e-cigarettes and other types of vaporisers, school-based disciplinary action is taken. They are reported to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA). HSA may fine recalcitrant offenders, and they are required to attend cessation programmes run by HPB. Students are guided by counsellors through their cessation journey to make long-term behavioural changes.

5. HSA investigates the source of supply from students reported by schools. Those who supply e-vaporisers to students are liable to be prosecuted in Court facing penalties including fines, imprisonment or both. If they are under-aged themselves, they may be made to attend a pre-Court diversionary rehabilitation programme like the Guidance Programme under the purview of Ministry of Social and Family Development.

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