E-cigarette manufacturers target students with new ‘toy pod’ trend

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

The rise of a new breed of e-cigarettes, dubbed “toy pods” has sparked growing concern among academics.

This new variant, designed to resemble popular cartoon characters or toy miniatures, is targeted explicitly at school and university students.

Srirach Lapyai, a project manager at the Tobacco Control Research and Knowledge Management Centre (TRC), shed light on this alarming trend. According to Srirach, e-cigarette manufacturers have adapted their products to mimic familiar toys, food items, and stationery, making them more appealing to young users.

These toy pods are the fifth generation of e-cigarettes and contain up to 5% synthetic nicotine, capable of yielding up to 15,000 puffs. There are also collections available, featuring up to 12 different toy pods, each distinguished by unique colours denoting various flavours and scents.

Srirach revealed the troubling extent of the trend.

“It is startling to discover that these toy pod e-cigarettes have infiltrated even primary schools. We recently identified several first graders in possession of them.”

She further explained that the design of the toy pods’ mouthpiece replicates a cute figurine, making it difficult to identify them as e-cigarettes at a glance.

The director of the TRC, Vijj Kasemsup, condemned the marketing tactics used by these businesses, accusing them of exploiting social media platforms to appeal to younger audiences. A recent report found that 309 online vendors were illegally selling e-cigarettes via various social media channels, including X, Facebook, and Instagram, in just the first two months of the year.

Dr Vijj expressed grave concerns over the potential health risks posed by nicotine in e-cigarettes, highlighting the possible adverse effects on children’s hearts, brains, concentration, and respiratory systems, as well as the risk of seizures and heart failure. He emphasised the necessity for continued government regulation banning the sale and importation of e-cigarettes.

A proactive approach is needed to enforce these regulations, with 70 e-cigarette shops identified within 500 metres of schools and universities in Bangkok alone, reported Bangkok Post.

Legal action against these establishments has been proposed as a means of enhancing safety measures.

Bangkok NewsCrime NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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