Malaysian Green Lung Assoc disappointed with Cabinet's decision over e-cigs

PETALING JAYA - The Malaysian Green Lung Association is disappointed with the Cabinet for choosing to regulate e-cigarettes instead of banning them.

Its co-founder and president Ho Rhu Yann said that besides nicotine, e-cigarettes contained glycol, which when heated up would create the carcinogenic compound acrolein.

"In fact, some studies showed that e-cigarettes contained higher composition of heavy metal than cigarettes," he said.

Ho said the cited review carried out by the Public Health England (PHE), which described e-cigarettes as 95 per cent less harmful than tobacco, was misleading because it only compared the nicotine content and did not take into consideration other harmful compounds.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam on Thursday said the ministry was considering banning e-cigarettes. But on the following day, the Cabinet decided to only regulate them.

Ho said the Cabinet should support the Health Minister in banning e-cigarettes for the people's benefit.

"If the Government insists on only regulating them, then their sale should be put under the Poison Act like the nicotine patch and gum, and not be sold in the open market.

"They will have to be prescribed only by doctors or pharmacists," he added.

He also said that while vaping companies had claimed that vaping can help smokers give up smoking, the World Health Organisation did not recommend that it be used for the purpose.

Ho said that if e-cigarettes were allowed to be sold openly, it would undermine tobacco control efforts because they also contained nicotine which lead to addiction.

He said the use of e-cigarettes was increasingly worrying as more vapers were vaping inside air-conditioned public places such as shopping malls and restaurants.

They were also easily accessible at 24-hour convenience shops and petrol stations.

More minors and teenagers had started puffing e-cigarettes in public places, he added.

"Smoking has again become a norm.

"The tobacco control efforts in the past years to reduce the number of smokers have been in vain," said Ho whose association had trained youths to carry out mini campaigns to deter smoking in public or enclosed areas.