Vietnamese Teens Find Purchasing E-Cigarettes Easily Accessible

    The prevalence of vape use is rapidly increasing among teenagers in major Vietnamese cities, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

    There is a prevalent concern regarding how effortlessly teenagers can acquire e-cigarettes, as though they were purchasing ordinary vegetables, despite the fact that selling tobacco products to individuals below 18 years old is illegal.

    Where did they purchase e-cigarettes?

    According to the Law on Prevention and Control of Tobacco Harms in Vietnam, the sale and distribution of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to individuals under the age of 18 is strictly forbidden.

    Reporters from Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper conducted thorough research online and closely monitored the prevailing situation on the ground.

    When perusing various social media platforms and participating in vaping-related Facebook communities, it becomes apparent that there is a wide range of e-cigarette options available at varying price points, ranging from affordable to exceedingly economical.

    At a reputable vape store with a substantial following of 24,000 subscribers, a customer inquired, “I am interested in trying e-cigarettes. What type would you recommend for a beginner like me?”

    A prompt response from a store representative assured the customer, “Our product is user-friendly. May I inquire about your preferred price?”

    In addition, the seller is showcasing a wide range of e-cigarettes, alongside incredible offers including free shipping for every order.

    The reporters from Tuoi Tre have conducted an investigation and successfully located a supplier of e-cigarettes. This particular supplier operates four stores, with three located in Hanoi and one in the southern city of Can Tho. The supplier engages in both online and offline sales.

    Our online stores boast an extensive selection of various types and models of e-cigarettes. We pride ourselves on specializing in everything related to e-cigarettes, including vapes, e-liquids, and pod systems.

    Based on the information provided on their website, the journalists discovered that the majority of products on offer range in price from VND200,000 (equivalent to US$8.5) to VND3 million (equivalent to $128). Additionally, there are numerous products currently on sale, with discounts ranging from 60-70%.

    According to the reporters’ findings, customers can conveniently place their e-cigarette orders online. All that is required is to provide their complete name, phone number, and address, and the delivery will be made without any age restrictions.

    Besides Facebook, other popular social media platforms like YouTube and TikTok also display a significant abundance of marketing videos promoting e-cigarettes.

    Tobacco retailers on these platforms not only showcase their products, but also personally test them and provide their expert reviews, offering valuable insights on vaping techniques and preferences to customers.

    Sellers primarily prioritize two essential factors: clouds and flavorings.

    The increasing number of clouds and the enticing flavors that an e-cigarette can generate greatly contribute to its growing popularity among young customers.

    When the journalists contacted an online store located in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, that specializes in selling e-cigarettes, they received an invitation to purchase a new e-cigarette model. This particular model offers a liquid volume of 2.5 ml and a battery capacity of 1,100 mAh.

    There is a wide range of flavors that appeal to children. Photo: photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

    There is a wide range of flavors that appeal to children. Photo:Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

    Buyers will also receive a complimentary 60-ml bottle of e-liquid in any flavor with their purchase. The total cost of the order is VND 550,000 ($23.4).

    According to the seller, this particular variety is popular among young customers, particularly high school and college students, due to its cost-effectiveness and the ability to enjoy multiple flavors simultaneously.

    There are also more affordable options available, priced between VND100,000 ($4.3) and VND300,000 ($13).

    One area of concern revolves around the preferences of young smokers, who often gravitate toward higher voltage models (ranging from 25W to 60W). These individuals tend to find the higher power levels more enticing and captivating.

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    The e-commerce website specializes in offering a wide variety of e-cigarettes and vaping products, presenting them as attractive and appealing toys.

    Introducing our discreet and innovative e-cigarette design. Resembling familiar objects such as pens or cameras, our products offer a discreet vaping experience that can go undetected by parents and teachers.

    According to the store owner, the e-cigarette will be delivered to customers in Ho Chi Minh City within one day of placing the order and successfully transferring the payment.

    The seller offers free shipping to incentivize customer engagement.

    When the reporters reached out to an online store on Facebook located in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City, they were provided with a diverse range of pods available at varying prices.

    The lowest-priced pod is priced at approximately VND300,000 ($13), while the highest-priced pod is priced at VND2 million ($85.3).

    The cost of an e-cigarette, as stated by the tobacco retailer, varies due to several factors, including the composition, design, power capacity, and optional features such as lighting and sound.

    Sellers also offer a variety of models and types to accommodate the preferences and personalities of students.

    An e-cigarette seller informed Tuoi Tre that teenagers often opt for e-cigarette designs that resemble toys in order to conceal their usage from parents or bring them to school unnoticed.

    An online vape store. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

    An online vape store. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

    The black market for e-cigarettes is experiencing a significant growth, with illegal sales of these products on the rise. This widespread issue presents challenges for regulatory agencies and poses risks to public health. It is crucial to address and combat this illicit market to ensure the safety of consumers and protect the integrity of the e-cigarette industry.

    When the journalists from Tuoi Tre attempted to purchase e-cigarettes, they discovered that they could simply place a call and provide the details of the desired pod and their preferred delivery method.

    The sellers omitted inquiring about the customers’ age and neglected to provide information on the prerequisites for purchasing e-cigarettes and the potential adverse consequences of vaping.

    Additionally, we would like to inform our customers that the addresses listed on our social media platforms are not genuine physical store locations. We kindly ask our valued customers to place their orders online through our designated website. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

    In April 18, a customer visited a store that specializes in selling e-cigarettes located on Hoang Sa Street in District 3. Unfortunately, upon arrival, the customer discovered that the store had recently closed its doors.

    When the customer contacted the phone number provided in the advertisement, they were informed that the store had already closed. They were kindly offered an alternative solution, with the option to provide their address for delivery of their order.

    When the customer placed an order for an orange oil manufactured in the United States with a specific type of freebase, they were informed that the price would be VND350,000 ($15) per 100 ml.

    “Our store primarily operates online, so please feel free to reach out to us, and rest assured that your order will be promptly delivered,” the sales representative confidently stated.

    The seller assured the buyer that prompt delivery would be possible once the specific details of the desired vaping product, including its price and usage instructions, were provided.

    The seller kindly requests you to connect with them on Zalo, a popular chat app, to establish a friendship. Once connected, they will be able to provide you with an assortment of vaping product photos for your convenient selection.

    In a swift and efficient manner, the vape was promptly delivered to the buyer residing in Ho Chi Minh City within a time frame of just 30 minutes.

    All orders qualify for free shipping, giving buyers the option to pay either via wire transfer or upon receiving the device.

    Many tobacco stores opt for selling vape products through online platforms. However, it is worth noting that the accuracy of the online store’s address is often inconsistent.

    “One tobacconist stated that customers are knowledgeable about stores that offer high-quality products and frequently share recommendations with one another.”

    Even Elementary School Students Are Vaping!

    At a primary school in Ho Chi Minh City, a student in the fourth-grade was recently observed smoking an e-cigarette during their break. Promptly informed by the student’s peers, the incident was promptly reported to the respective teachers.

    The student informed the teachers that he had obtained the e-cigarette from a nearby alley, in close proximity to the school. Furthermore, he asserted his familiarity with vaping techniques, citing his exposure to it on the popular social media platform, Facebook.

    The student expressed that the e-cigarette offered a highly enticing flavor with a wide range of flavor options available.

    The school administration and teachers held a meeting with the student’s parents to address and resolve the issue in order to prevent any future occurrences.

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