KUALA LUMPUR: An addiction treatment group said the health ministry should consider scientific evidence when formulating laws to regulate the vape industry.
Advanced Center for Addiction Treatment Advocacy president Dr Arifin Fii said there was also a need to adapt ideas from research conducted overseas.
“This way, we can come up with effective vaping laws,” he said at the Innovation Summit Southeast Asia 2023 co organised by the Center for Market Education, Tholos Foundation and Property Rights Alliance.
Benedict Weerasena, the research director of Bait Al-Amanah, a think tank, said it was important for the ministry to factor in a person’s personal freedom when formulating vaping laws.
He said that banning smoking and vaping through the Tobacco and Smoking Control Bill, commonly known as the Generational End Game bill, would be ineffective in prohibiting the younger generation from picking up the habit.
The younger generation should be taught to make informed choices, he said.
“The question is how do we encourage the youth to make informed decisions rather than abandoning them (cigarettes and vape)?”
Harm Awareness Association programme director Samsul Kamal Ariffin said his group had consistently engaged with the ministry to introduce a separate law for vaping since 2015.
However, they had been “consistently ignored” by the ministry despite presenting evidence and results of scientific research, he said.
Samsul claimed that the ministry seemed more interested in pushing for nicotine patches to combat the menace.
He claimed such methods were ineffective in getting smokers to quit, adding that he had shown the evidence to the ministry.
“I think the sincerity of the health ministry is in question here, are they (health ministry) really sincere in helping people to stop smoking?”
In April, health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said a new bill on tobacco and vape control was expected to be tabled when Parliament resumes in May.
Zaliha said the health ministry would table a bill to regulate all smoking products, including nicotine materials, “to ensure comprehensive control over nicotine preparations or gels containing nicotine in e-cigarettes or vapes”.