THE Government must introduce regulations for the local vape industry to not only reap its economic benefits, but to also make way for the adoption of harm reduction approach by encouraging smokers to switch to vape as means to quit smoking.
The above call came on the back of a recent online campaign organised by the Malaysian Vaping Chamber of Commerce (MVCC) which featured stories from Malaysians who have quit traditional cigarettes with the aid of vape.
“We now have evidence that many smokers in Malaysia use vape as a means to quit smoking,” commented the industry body’s information head Ashraf Rozali.
“Our recent knowledge-sharing online campaign which drew the interest of local vapers demonstrated the use of vape as an effective method to quit smoking.”
The results from this campaign are also in line with global studies on vape which has found vape to be less harmful than cigarettes and an effective tool in helping smokers quit.
The recent updated review by Public Health of England, UK’s top public health organisation, found that nicotine vaping products are 95% less harmful compared with traditional cigarettes.
Vaping products were the most popular smoking cessation aid in England in 2020 – used by 27.2% compared with 15.5% who used over the counter nicotine replacement therapy and 4.4% who used varenicline (a prescription medication used to treat nicotine addiction).
Additionally, the New Zealand Government recently launched a Vape to QuitStrong campaign in March to reduce the harm posed by traditional cigarettes in line with the NZ Health Ministry’s stance on vape use.
The NZ Health Ministry has stated the goal of reducing harm arising from traditional cigarette use and this campaign is supported and in line with its stance on vape use and its role in achieving the country’s Smokefree 2025 target.
“The Malaysian Health Ministry must accept the growing evidence that has found vape to be an effective way to help smokers quit smoking and significantly reduce health risks,” echoed Ashraf.
“Reducing smoking rate is an important public health issue and the government needs to consider the role that vape can play in achieving this goal, just as how the UK and New Zealand Governments use vape as a strategy to reduce the harm of tobacco.”
Previously, MVCC has also published a study which valued the vape industry in Malaysia at RM2.27 bil with an ecosystem of 3,300 manufacturers, importers and retailers, and a growing distribution and logistics network.
“We know that this industry is now growing,” projected Ashraf. “With the proper implementation of comprehensive regulations, local economists predict that the value of the vape industry will increase to RM10 bil over the next few years as regulations will allow more smokers to quit smoking and switch to vape.”
Commenting on the incident of a couple who had given their child, believed to be two years old, the use of vape recently, MVCC has criticised such action as irresponsible while stressing the need to put regulations in place to prevent such incidents from re-occurring.
“Regulations on the use of vape must be introduced in order to curb things incidents like these from happening,” stressed Ashraf. “Education is also needed so that consumers do not abuse the product by allowing it to be used by minors.”
Established in 2015, the MVCC whose priority is to help make the vape industry in Malaysia more competitive and structured as a whole is the one and only society related to vape which is registered with the Registrar of Societies under Malaysia’s Home Affairs Ministry. – May 12, 2021