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Forum: Do more to snuff out vaping culture in universities

I thank The Sunday Times for the insightful report “Student residents claim vaping culture persists at NUS, NTU and SMU hostels” (Sept 10).

Students interviewed in the report alluded to a casual acceptance of vaping among themselves and their perception of slack enforcement and lack of adequate and effective education efforts by the universities. 

Universities on their part maintained that efforts like surveillance cameras, peer support, orientation briefings, hostel agreements, circulars and outreach programmes are in place. Realistically, one would question how effective these efforts are for a target group of university students.

It is time for universities to stop using obsolete means of communication and up their game in reaching out to their students on this subject of vaping. Universities should also take a proactive approach in stamping out vaping among their students instead of waiting for the Ministry of Education to prescribe exact policies and procedures.

The ministry provided data showing a low rate of vaping offences. The rate of offences is based on the level of enforcement. If universities are not executing an effectively high enough level of enforcement, would a low rate of offence be meaningful data to justify why more is not being done? 

It has been five years since Singapore introduced strict laws on vaping. Yet, we are now seeing a growing vaping culture among young people. The universities and the ministry need to face up to the situation and do more effectively before vaping becomes a bigger social and public health concern.

Tan Chor Hoon

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