Don't vape in public areas, vapers in Malaysia urged

PETALING JAYA - Vapers have been urged to avoid vaping in public areas.

Pahang Health director Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar said vapers should do so on their own while the Health Ministry looked at creating no-vaping zones.

"As vapes are new, they are not subjected to smoking laws as yet. To ensure the safety and health of everyone, the ministry will come up with a new law to regulate it or add it to the current ones," Zainal said in an interview on RTM1 yesterday.

He said every component of the e-cigarette could pose health risks - from breathing problems to cardiovascular or heart diseases.

The device, he said, could explode or cause small fires, while the coil of the heater which was made of nickel, cadmium and copper could be poisonous in the long-term and cause cancer.

"But what we are most worried about is the liquid. In its original state there is nothing wrong with it, but lately, it has also been laced with drugs," said Zainal.

Earlier, speaking on a programme on NTV7, Malaysian Thoracic Society Council Repre­sentative for Tobacco Control, Dr Helmy Haja Mydin agreed that vaping has potential to be a harm reduction tool for smokers, but only if it was regulated to ensure safety and that it does not become another form of addiction.

He said there were no quality standards and no way to say for sure that what vapers were taking was safe.

"It could quite literally be made in someone's backyard. We do not know what's in it," said Dr Helmy, who added that there were also fears of nicotine overdose.

"Two weeks ago a patient complained that he had difficulty breathing every time he took a puff. He could feel the nicotine seeping into his mouth and that was quite dangerous because you could die from nicotine overdose," he said.

However, Malaysian Organisa-tion of Vape Entities (Move) president Samsul Kamal Arriffin said that vapers would need to vape a much higher dose of nicotine for it to be poisonous.

"Most vapers vape at around 6mg of nicotine per 30ml. The threshold level for it to be poisonous is 60ml and nobody vapes at 60ml," said Samsul, who added that he stopped smoking within 24 hours after he started vaping three years ago.