MALACCA: Vaping is to be banned in the country soon – or at least regulated stringently.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the ministry was studying the models used in countries that have banned it and those which had imposed strict rules, to adopt the best practices for legislation.
“We have not made a definite decision yet. The options we are considering range from very strict regulation or to a total ban.
“We are looking at existing laws under the ministry and the laws of other ministries on the best approach to take,” he said at an event to distribute Deepavali hampers and vouchers at Dewan Hang Tuah here yesterday.
Dr Subramanian said several countries had banned vaping while others have banned the use of devices such as e-cigarettes, adding that Singapore has also announced that it would ban vaping and such devices from Dec 15.
He said the ministry was compiling results of studies on the health risks of vaping and its effects on passive vapers and other information.
He said regulations could also include barring the use of vapers in restaurants and other public areas.
Dr Subramaniam had told reporters in Parliament earlier that the Government’s long-term intention was to prohibit vaping.
“We are now working out a few legal premises. We will choose the most appropriate Act that will give us the power to do it.
“If it was up to me, I will ban it as soon as possible. I feel we have to put a stop to this before it becomes a big issue,” he said.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya also told the Dewan Rakyat that 70% of smokers wanted to quit smoking by switching to vape but ended up smoking both.
The ministry has been concerned over the growing trend of vaping among Malaysians, especially those below 18.
With more than a million vapers, it has grown to be a half-a-billion ringgit industry. Malaysia has the biggest number of users in Asia and, worldwide, is second only to the United States.
There are now more than 1,000 vape shops and vaping outlets throughout the country with more than 400 local brands of electronic vaporiser devices (called mods) and juice (nicotine infused liquids)
Besides Singapore, the use of e-cigarettes have also been barred in many countries like Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Qatar, Seychelles and Turkey.
The sale of such devices are also restricted in Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Japan, New Zealand and the Philippines, among others.
The US’ Food and Drug Administration proposed regulations for e-cigarettes last year and since then has been collecting results of studies and public health issues raised by the products.
Public Health England (PHE) however says vaping is safer than smoking.