11-year-old Malaysian boy addicted to vaping

The young have easy access to the ‘mods’ and juices as they are on sale everywhere, even in the local pasar malam.
The young have easy access to the ‘mods’ and juices as they are on sale everywhere, even in the local pasar malam. PHOTO: THE STAR/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA TERENGGANU (THE STAR/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - He's only 11 and now in Year Five. And already, he is into e-cigarettes. What's worse, it was his 14-year-old brother who got him hooked on it.

"I started about two months ago. My brother introduced it to me. I guess he wanted my parents to think that when the two of us were together, we would not do anything mischievous," he confessed.

E-cigarettes and vaping are becoming dangerous habits for the young, as there is little to regulate their sale or use.

The young also have easy access to the "mods" and juices as they are on sale everywhere, even in the local pasar malam.

The 14-year-old older brother said almost 40% of his male school friends in Kemaman near here own e-cigarettes.

"Even the girls in the school vape. Vaping is now seen to be something trendy. Some even vape in the classroom when the teacher is not around," he said.

It's easier for them now as they are on school holiday and staying with their grandparents who let them roam freely.

The brothers each own an e-cigarette, which cost them a total of about RM1,100 (S$366) and the parents are in the dark about it.

If the parents are unaware about their expensive habit, where do this young school going children get the money to buy the vaping liquids?

None of the students wanted to answer the question.

They, however, admitted that their vaping habit had started with just a couple of puffs with peers and believing that vaping was glamorous and that it was less harmful than smoking cigarettes.

For the brothers' 13-year-old friend Zack, it started with a few puffs of "mango lassi" flavoured electronic cigarette with his friends some six months ago.

Today, he is well and truly hooked.

Zack (not his real name), the son of a contractor and a primary school teacher, said his daily routine since six months ago was to come from school, have lunch and tell his mother that he was going to the library to do some revision with his friends, including the two brothers.

But they do not go to the library. Instead, the friends would meet up at a secluded spot and start vaping.

Zack was seen busy blowing clouds of nicotine vapour into the air with his other four friends.

Their choice was mainly the "mango lassi", "horny mango" and "lychee".

According to Zack, he had no choice but to lie to his parents.

"I have now become addicted to it," he said.

Zack now has two electronic cigarettes worth a total of RM500 which he hides in a cupboard. He admitted that what he was doing was wrong but said it was too hard for him to quit.