The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on February 20 organised a vocabulary contest to discuss the topic of eliminating the use of e-cigarettes, or vapes, along with THC/marijuana products by raising awareness of the harm they cause among young people.

Ministry undersecretary of state Soeur Socheata said that although there were some points that were not mentioned by the participants, the programme showed that youths have a clear understanding about the problems associated with vaping.

She added that although the government has been actively trying to prevent the spread of vaping, illegal vendors were still using social media such as Telegram, Facebook and YouTube to promote the sale and distribution of their products.

“All of these communications technologies have made it easier for some young people to use e-cigarettes. Therefore, stakeholders, especially youths, must work together to eliminate this issue via peer education and telling people around them to stop using it.

“I urge all students and teachers across the country to work together to eliminate all forms of e-cigarette use in educational institutions and in the community to ensure our development can be limited only by our ambitions,” she said.

Officials have said that the designers of vapes had created products that were attractive, small and easy to carry, and came in a variety of aromas and flavours, all of which makes the authorities’ job of stamping out their use even more difficult.

“The e-cigarette sellers advertised it as a ‘smoking cessation’ device and said that it had no side effects.

“All candidates have asked the relevant authorities to stop importing, distributing and promoting this product and especially to eliminate social media advertising to prevent young people from being lured into using these dangerous products,” they said.

In 2021, the the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) issued guidelines on measures to prevent the import, trafficking, exploitation and use of vapes and other nicotine-delivery devices such as HTPs or heated tobacco products.

The measures include strengthening the implementation of the directive dated February 2014 on measures to prevent the use, exploitation and import of cigars and e-cigarettes in Cambodia and to take immediate action to stop the use and commercialisation of all such products in all forms.

The confiscation and seizure of products must not affect any other legitimate businesses, however, but all relevant ministries and institutions, NACD members and authorities at all levels must report the results of the implementation of the policy to the national committee for summarisation in its report to the government.