‘Disallowing vaping without control is commendable’
KUALA LUMPUR: The move to regulate electronic cigarettes, vaporisers and shishas is a step in the right direction towards Malaysia becoming a smoke-free nation by 2045, say experts.
Consultant psychiatrist and smoking cessation specialist Dr Amer Siddiq Amer Nordin said disallowing vaping without control was commendable and in keeping with other countries.
“It would help with the g o v e r nment’s tobacco control agenda, especially o n c e e nforcement is in place.
“Vaping — or the use of devices without nicotine — although not addictive, can be potentially harmful as it promotes smoking,” he told the New Straits Times yesterday.
He said increasing the legal age to buy and smoke tobacco products from 18 to 21 would lower the number of new smokers and reduce prevalence of smokers.
“Studies have found that the later the age of initiation, the lesser the likelihood to smoke chronically.
“The ban on smoking or vaping in public spaces prevents children from initiating smoking via role models or elders who smoke, and assists in quitting smoking via the reduction of visual cues.”
On the Health Ministry’s proposal to increase cigarette prices, Dr Amer said it was one of the most effective strategies to reduce initiators.
“We should be implementing a yearly tax hike on tobacco products like New Zealand if we are serious, as we move towards a smoke-free nation by 2045.
“Enforcement needs to be increased. Self-enforcement is possible and can be done once the public is empowered.”
Malaysian Medical Association president Dr John Chew welcomed the ministry’s move to regulate the electronic devices and ban smoking in private cars with children.
Dr Amer Siddiq Amer Nordin