Greek doc says 'aye' to e-ciggie

KUALA LUMPUR - A cardiologist from Greece has argued that e-cigarettes should be made available to smokers who want to stop using cigarettes, but could not or did not wish to give up nicotine.

Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos said e-cigarettes, like other reduced nicotine-containing products, had unique characteristics and role to play in tobacco harm reduction.

The University of Patras' Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center cardiologist and researcher quoted studies that said the current nicotine replacement therapies had less than a 6 per cent success rate while oral medications had less than a 20 per cent success rate.

"Most smokers do not want to go to the doctor," he said yesterday in a media briefing on facts about e-cigarettes initiated by the Malaysian Organisation of Vape Entity.

Instead, the e-cigarette was more acceptable to smokers to use it to reduce smoking, argued Dr Farsalinos, saying that it was 95 per cent less harmful than cigarettes.

On Aug 13, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the ministry was in discussions with various agencies and parties on the effects the various methods of smoking have on one's health.

He urged the public to stop vaping until comprehensive findings on the risks were released.

John Boley, the co-founder of the consumer advocacy group pointed out that from 400 Malaysian smokers aged 18 and above surveyed online by Ipsos from June 3 to June 17, eight in 10 (82%) agreed that "e-cigarettes represent a positive alternative to today's cigarettes".

Three-quarters (75%) would "consider switching to e-cigarettes if they were legal, met quality and safety standards, and were conveniently available like regular tobacco products," he said.