KUALA LUMPUR: There is a rise in vapour in shopping malls and other hot spots patronised by the young and trendy with e-cigarettes clenched between their teeth.
While the Health Ministry is still studying whether to impose a blanket ban on smoking indoors there is no indication just yet on the status of electronic cigarettes, should the ban be imposed, says The Rakyat Post in a special report.
Vaping, which is inhaling vapour from e-cigarettes, is becoming increasingly popular unlike cancer-causing cigarettes that contain tobacco and a cocktail of harmful chemicals.
While the global trend is increasingly against cigarettes, the authorities are generally muted against vaping.
New York City, however, banned vaping in several public places and parks, including restaurants and bars in May last year. The opponents of e-cigarettes say its health risks are yet to be determined and that they are marketed to children. Critics also say it promotes a re-acceptance of smoking.
Singapore has already banned e-cigarettes, so too Hong Kong, Brazil and Panama.
The Welsh government joined in the move against vaping early this month when it announced a ban on e-cigarettes in enclosed places like pubs, restaurants and offices. There is already a no smoking ban in places in Wales but it does not include vaping.
Vaping in Malaysia which is seen as an alternative to smoking, has been catching on, especially among the younger generation. There has even been a proliferation of vaping centres where you can get everything you need to get started on vaping.
Vaping sites and forums over social media say the liquid used for e-cigarettes contain nicotine, the potent stimulant drug that is also found in tobacco leaves.
However, the important difference is that an e-cigarette does not have the harmful chemicals that a cigarette needs in order for it to keep lighted.
“Social media played the biggest role in the vaping explosion,” said a young e-cigarette user.
Vaping in Malaysia started off on Facebook, where everyone, from sellers of devices to the brewers of flavours, posted their own brands for people to try, said the youngster.
“There were recipe exchanges. And when it started catching on, these home brewers relied on resellers to sell their flavours.
“But now that everyone has started brewing, nobody trades recipes any more; it’s more experimentation now.”