Archived: Dr Hilmi: Still too early to decide on e-cigarette ban

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KUALA LUMPUR: The government has yet to make a decision to ban electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or vaping, said Deputy Minister of Health Dr Hilmi Yahaya.

Dr Hilmi said it was still too early to decide whether to ban vaping because there was no specific law pertaining to it.

“So far, no law has been enacted,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here today.

However, Dr Hilmi said the ministry would hold discussions with stakeholders on the use and sale of e-cigarettes before drafting an Act on the matter.

Yesterday, Health Minister Dr S. Subramaniam said the government would consider banning the use of e-cigarettes in the near future to prevent health effects on consumers.

Dr Hilmi said the ministry was looking into the legal aspects of enforcement to improve existing laws and enable the ban.

In GEORGE TOWN, the Consumer Association of Penang (CAP) wants the health minister to impose an immediate ban on e-cigarettes as it was widely used by students.

Its president, S. M. Mohamed Idris, said the use of e-cigarettes was becoming popular among teenagers, adding that primary school pupils were not spared, either.

He said based on complaints received by parents and teachers from several primary and secondary schools in Penang, there was a spike in the number of students involved in vaping.

“There is a need to impose a total ban on the sale of e-cigarettes as it may entice more youths into trying and getting hooked on them,” he said in a statement here today.

Mohamed Idris said while there was age restriction for the sale of normal cigarettes, there was no age limit for buying e-cigarettes and this could lead to more children and youth buying and using e-cigarettes.

“E-cigarettes are banned in Singapore, Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Qatar, Seychelles and Turkey. The delay in banning the device in our country is incomprehensible,” he lamented.

However, Mohamed Idris said e-cigarettes were being promoted as a healthy alternative to tobacco smoking but the World Health Organisation (WHO) does not consider it to be a legitimate therapy for smokers trying to quit.

He said according to the WHO, the e-cigarette was not a proven nicotine replacement therapy.

“In Malaysia, e-cigarettes are being marketed as an effective device to kick the smoking habit and sold for RM50 to RM90 while the liquid filled bottle is sold from RM10 to RM20,” he said, adding that e-cigarettes were easily available in many shops while some traders openly sold them at night markets.

– BERNAMA