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Taiwan advises against usage of Chinese 'energy sticks' among schoolchildren

Some young students reportedly addicted to inhaler nasal sticks

Inhaler nasal stick products available on the Shopee e-commerce platform. (Shopee screenshot)

Inhaler nasal stick products available on the Shopee e-commerce platform. (Shopee screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Authorities in Taiwan are issuing warnings about the growing trend of using inhaler nasal sticks from China, particularly among schoolchildren.

These products, often referred to as "energy sticks," have gained popularity in Chinese schools, sparking concerns about their potential health effects. Some young users have reported addiction issues, despite manufacturers' claims of safety and non-addictive properties, per China's state media outlet Global Times.

These nasal sticks are predominantly composed of mint, camphor, and essential oils. A wide range of flavors of these "energy sticks" has flooded China's e-commerce platforms, including watermelon, orange, tea, and even alcohol-infused varieties, according to the report.

This trend has also made its way to elementary and junior high schools in Taiwan, with some vendors marketing them as for "students only" and promoting their use for combating drowsiness, wrote ETToday.

Health experts in both Taiwan and China have voiced concerns about the potential health risks associated with using these nasal sticks. These concerns encompass issues such as nose infections and damage to the nasal mucosa and olfactory nerve, among others.

In response, the education ministry in Taiwan is actively discouraging the use of uncertified imported medication and is committed to conducting educational programs about the proper attitude toward drug use. Meanwhile, education officials are encouraging students to prioritize adequate sleep and regular exercise to enhance their learning effectiveness.