E-cigarette Use Among Adolescents in Estonia: A Growing Trend

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Estonia sees a rise in teenage smoking as they switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes, lured by candy flavors.

According to a report by Estonian media outlet Newsy-Today on December 12th, while the number of adult smokers in Estonia has been gradually decreasing, there is a concerning trend among the country’s youth with regards to smoking behavior. The use of traditional cigarettes is being replaced by e-cigarettes, particularly due to the appealing candy flavors they offer. This is attracting an increasingly younger demographic, exposing them to nicotine addiction.

According to Aive Telling, Director of Chemical Safety and Environmental Health at the Ministry of Social Affairs, the use of e-cigarettes is showing an overall increasing trend, particularly among young people.

Young people today are starting to use e-cigarettes at a much younger age than in the past, with the current starting age now being discussed as 10-11 years old, according to senior expert Tiina Kuusik from the Institute of Healthy Development Research. She further adds that their first exposure to tobacco products is now e-cigarettes, as opposed to the traditional combustible cigarettes of the past.

Trinh further confirmed that the usage of nicotine products among teenagers has not decreased compared to decades ago. However, it is much easier for underage individuals to purchase e-cigarettes containing nicotine compared to traditional cigarettes. He pointed out that if minors are not required to provide age verification when buying e-cigarettes, or if they can knowingly purchase them despite being underage, then 60% of underage individuals would acquire traditional cigarettes through this method.

Despite France’s decision to ban disposable e-cigarettes, Estonia does not believe that this will have the desired effect. While e-cigarettes with sweet-flavored e-liquids have been banned, directly prohibiting such flavored devices has not reduced their prevalence. Moreover, students in Latvia are even able to acquire these sweet-flavored devices through illegal channels.

Trin expressed, “This should be a central issue addressed by all countries. It is indeed challenging to tackle this issue one by one.”

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