Vaping is not an alternative to quit smoking, says Health DG

THE Health Ministry (MOH) has once again expressed concern over electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or better known as vape which are dangerous and have the potential to result in injury to the lungs.

According to Health director-general (DG) Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan, vape is not an alternate way to quit smoking as electronic cigarettes are proven to cause health issues among consumers.

“The ingredients contained in the e-cigarette’s juice will produce chemicals when heated will result in inflammation of the lining of the lungs and cause lung disease.

“Until last June, MOH received 17 related cases and therefore, MOH requests all medical practitioners to continue to notify MOH if any patient is found to be suffering from related problems,” he said in a press release yesterday (June 13).

Dr Radzi further reported that the usage of electronic cigarettes among youths aged 13 to 17 years grew from 9.8% in 2017 to 14.9% in 2022 and among teenage girls, from 2.8% in 2017 to 6.2% in 2022, according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS).

He also stated that the MOH began disease-monitoring efforts associated with the use of electronic cigarettes in June 2022 via the Circular of the Director General of Health regarding notification requirements.

From April 1, vaping has been officially legalised in Malaysia after Putrajaya exempted nicotine liquids and gels from being classified as controlled substances under the Poisons Act 1952, allowing them to be marketed and taxed on the open market.

On June 12, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said the Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill 2023, dubbed the generational end game (GEG) bill, would be referred to the parliamentary select committee (PSC) before being debated in Parliament.

Dr Zaliha said PSC members, MPs, professional bodies and NGOs had demanded some matters under the Bill to be further reviewed.

“It is important for this bill to obtain the undivided support of all parties.

“Therefore, the health ministry proposes that this bill be referred to the health PSC, which will act as a check and balance and take into account the views of all stakeholders,” Dr Zaliha said while tabling the bill for its first reading in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (June 12).

The Generational End Game (GEG) Bill, officially known as the Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022, seeks to ban the use, possession and sale of cigarettes and vape products to those born after 2007.

However, those under the age of 18 are currently permitted to use nicotine liquid and gel products without restriction, prompting a public outcry among health practitioners and parents. – June 14, 2023


Main pic credit: Sinar Harian 

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