Malaysian govt won't ban growing trend but health authorities concerned

PHOTO: The Star/ANN

PUTRAJAYA - Vapers can breathe a sigh of relief. The Government has no plans to ban vaping for now.

The Cabinet made the decision after a lengthy discussion on the matter during its weekly meeting yesterday.

However, health authorities intend to educate the public on the growing trend as they look for evidence of any harmful effects from inhaling flavoured vapour.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam expressed his "deep concern over the steep increase in the number of people vaping in Malaysia" during the meeting.

"I am worried about the possible long-term consequences of inhaling vapours that may contain nicotine, formaldehyde and propylene glycol," he said.

The Cabinet also discussed the differences between smoking and vaping.

Dr Subramaniam said it saw the need for public education on the possible health effects and that vaping should be regulated, both of which the Health Ministry has been tasked with.

"The success of these efforts and the advent of any further evidence will decide whether we need to ban it," he said.

The decision not to ban vaping drew praise from Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

"Thank you, Prime Minister and the Government, for understanding the aspirations of the young," he wrote in a Facebook posting.

Talk of a ban followed the ministry's concern over the trend among Malaysians, especially those below 18.

There are more than a million vapers in Malaysia, making it a half-billion ringgit industry.

Also, the country has the most vapers in Asia and is second only to the United States in the world. Singapore and several other countries have banned e-cigarettes, a type of vaping device.

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