MSHR: Consider the potential harm reduction when enacting vaping goods regulations

THE Malaysian Society for Harm Reduction (MSHR) has called on the government to develop regulations that will take into consideration the potential of vape products in helping to reduce smoking prevalence in Malaysia as the relevant authorities taking steps to regulate vape products.

Earlier, it was reported that the Poisons Board was meeting to discuss the potential exemption of vape liquids or gels containing nicotine from the Poisons Act 1952 which is a step that is needed to enable regulations to be introduced onto vape products.

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa has also stated today that the Health Ministry (MOH) is expediting the tobacco bill to be tabled in Parliament soon. 

“This is signalling that the MOH is taking steps to regulate vape products which is a step in the right direction. The current situation where vape products are unregulated cannot be left unattended and needs to be addressed immediately,” MSHR chairman Professor Dr Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh pointed out.

While waiting for the tobacco bill to be tabled in Parliament, MSHR is of the opinion that immediate amendments to current regulations need to take place to enable controls be imposed onto vape products, according to Dr Sharifa who is also the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) community health physician and health economics specialist.

Dr Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh

“MSHR urge all parties to support this move so that the government can take steps to regulate vape products immediately to protect consumers from prohibited ingredients, prevent potential contaminants from open system products and prohibit products falling into the hands of minors.”  

Simultaneously, MSHR also urged the government to develop regulations that would take into consideration the harm reduction potential of vape products.  

Dr Sharifa noted that multiple independent datas from local and international researches show that vape has been proven to be less harmful compared to smoking and is effective in assisting smokers to quit smoking.

She added that these independent researches have also been acknowledged by the UK and New Zealand governments who are spearheading the tobacco harm reduction agenda.

“Therefore, in developing the regulations for vape products, MOH needs to consider the harm reduction potential for vape products and introduce appropriate regulations to regulate the products instead of categorising it in the same way as cigarettes,” stressed Dr Sharifa. 

Moreover, MSHR also urges the government to hold more discussions and conduct in-depth studies on the Generational End Game (GEG) proposal. 

 “MSHR believes that GEG will send a wrong message to smokers given the fact that it treats vape products in the same way as cigarettes and tobacco,” it opined.

“This will deter smokers from switching to vape. In light of this, MSHR suggests that the government should establish an independent committee that is driven by science and evidence to conduct in-depth research and studies on vape products before deciding on imposing GEG for the product.” — March 30, 2023

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