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Screen school students for vapes

Screen school students for vapes

The Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) is set to implement stringent measures, including personal belongings searches, to combat the prevalence of vaping among students in schools. This action comes in response to a noticeable increase in the number of students using e-cigarettes.

Thee Pawangkanan, Obec’s deputy secretary-general, expressed the government’s concern over the rising trend of e-cigarette usage among students aged 13 to 15. He also highlighted disturbing instances of vape use among even younger students, aged between 6 and 7, who are considered the youngest smokers.

These developments prompted Education Minister Permpoon Chidchob, Deputy Education Minister Surasak Phancharoenworakul, and Obec secretary-general Thanu Wongjinda to task Mr. Thee with addressing the issue.

Obec intends to implement strict measures aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes among teachers, students, and parents. Mr. Thee pointed out that vapes often resemble cartoon characters and emit fruity scents, which may mislead individuals into believing they are harmless. However, records indicate that vapes can cause severe lung damage.

Expressing grave concern, Mr. Thee urged parents’ assistance in tackling this problem. Although neither regular cigarettes nor e-cigarettes are classified as drugs, he emphasized the importance of educating children about the hazards associated with their use.

Among the measures Obec plans to implement is conducting bag searches of students before they enter classrooms to identify illegal or inappropriate items, including e-cigarettes. These measures are scheduled to take effect on May 15, coinciding with the beginning of the new term, to prevent the infiltration of hazardous or illicit products into schools.

In parallel efforts, Phantong Loykulnanta, principal adviser on duty collection management and development at the Customs Department, announced the arrest of 211 smugglers attempting to bring cigarettes and vapes worth 34.11 million baht into the country between March 1 and April 5. He emphasized the department’s commitment to rigorously enforcing Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s directive against cigarette and vape smuggling, which remains a persistent challenge.

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