KUALA LUMPUR: The issue of “vaping” which is seen to be increasingly prevalent among students is worrying, with recent reports that even primary school pupils were beginning to use the electronic cigarette device openly.
The recent photo of a female student seen vaping at a bus stop which went viral on social media recently, and allegations that the devices were being freely distributed among school children by irresponsible parties is grave cause for concern.
Commenting on the issue, Malaysian School Principals Council (MPSM) president Datuk Sabuddin Sani admitted that although the situation was still under control, proactive action to address the issue should be taken immediately by all parties, and especially parents.
“The children are confused between what they are being taught (in school) and what they see, because in school, the teachers say that cigarettes are harmful to health, but at home, their own parents who smoke indirectly set a bad example.
“So parents should be exemplary models, and not just blame the children when they get caught up in such negative issues,“ he said when contacted by Bernama here today.
A father who only wishes to be known as Azman also expressed his concern when asked by his son to get him the device.
“The children think that a vape is like the latest toy gadget. I was surprised when my 13-year-old son also asked for permission to own one. According to him, some of his friends even saved up money for over three months to buy a vape priced at RM80.
“So the parents’ job is to constantly monitor their children’s actions, and ensure they do not get involved with the wrong people,“ Azman said.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) president Aminuddin Awang said school managements should continue to use the Ministry of Education’s guidelines provided in 2015 to address serious disciplinary problems such as the use of vape among students.
“According to the circular, vaping is categorised as one of the major disciplinary issues, and for the first time offence, the student involved will be given counseling, while for the second offence, they can be suspended from school for no more than 14 days.
“The ministry itself has taken measures to resolve the problem from the beginning, and I believe that if all parties cooperate then we can overcome the issue from becoming an epidemic in the future,“ he said.
Apart from that, the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH), led by Deputy Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye has also taken the initiative to set up a Special Committee on June 27 to control the use of electronic cigarettes and vape, including preventing the sale of such devices to students. — Bernama