Some 60 people in the capital and Stung Treng province have been detained over the sale and use of e-cigarettes and warned against repeating the offence.

In Song, deputy director of the Ministry of Interior’s anti-drug department, told The Post on August 22 that officers had carried out 10 raids on e-cigarette businesses over the past month.

He said 12 people had been detained in swoops from June 23 to August 22, and had been reprimanded before signing contracts agreeing to cease the activities.

While the use of e-cigarettes – commonly known as “vapes” – and heated tobacco products (HTPs) is not illegal, he said their sale is contrary to a government directive prohibiting their import or commercial use.

In Phnom Penh, police seized 19 sets of e-cigarettes, 215 sets of vaping paraphernalia and 1,417 bottles of vapour liquid – or “vape juice” – in the raids.

“We seized the paraphernalia to be destroyed later,” he said.

In Stung Treng, deputy police chief Phay Raksmey said on August 22 that officers had raided a club in the provincial town’s Kandal village on the night of August 21.

The owner was questioned over the sale of e-cigarettes and revealed two others involved in the activity, who were later detained for selling vaping products from their clothes business.

He added that they were not involved in other crimes, so police had followed guidance from the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD), with the three signing contracts agreeing to stop selling e-cigarettes.

“We made them sign the contracts and let them off while we kept the seized items which included 527 e-cigarettes and 90 bottles of “vape juice”.

During the operation, the police detained 40 young men and women, who also signed contracts before being brought home to their parents.

The sale of e-cigarettes was discovered after a tip-off from the Cambodia Movement for Health (CMH), he noted.

Mom Kong, executive director of the Cambodia Movement for Health (CMH), said the use of e-cigarettes seriously affected health.

“Using e-cigarettes damages brain cells and can lead to severe lung damage because of the vapour they contain.

“Using e-cigarettes also carries a Covid-19 risk because young people share such smoking paraphernalia mouth-to-mouth,” he said.