‘Disal­low­ing va­p­ing with­out con­trol is com­mend­able’

New Straits Times - - News -

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

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