To stop vaping, doctor tells Putrajaya to reward healthy Malaysians with cash, bonuses

Prof. Dr. Muhaya Mohamad speaks during a Health Ministry forum on vaping in Putrajaya, December 2, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Prof. Dr. Muhaya Mohamad speaks during a Health Ministry forum on vaping in Putrajaya, December 2, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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PUTRAJAYA, Dec 2 — A medical specialist and motivational speaker today called on Putrajaya to offer bonuses and cash gifts to healthy Malaysians as a way to fight the new vaping fad.

Eye specialist Professor Dr Muhaya Mohamad told a Health Ministry forum on vaping here that the incentives should be given to those who maintain healthy body weights and good Body Mass Index (BMI) readings, as well as those who do not take medical leaves and have good work attendance records.

“So talking about vape and cigarette.. it’s a bad habit. How can we remove bad habits? We replace bad habits with good habits.

“I suggest to the KKM (Health Ministry of Malaysia) to not just go for disease fighting, we go for wellness. Can we make a programme whereby, for every person who has a healthy body we give them money.

“So whoever who has a fit body can get cash incentives because they are healthy.

“They get money from the government for being healthy and becoming healthy citizens without the need to take MC. And for those who don’t take MCs, pay them bonuses. That should be the way,” Dr Muhaya said to applause from the packed hall.

Dr Muhaya also went on to add that vaping is for those “whose spirits are weak”, claiming that the profit made by vape traders are “artificial” and that they would regret it when they die.

“If we inhale vape, it is filling a gap in the soul…. for those whose spirits aren’t strong.

“Vape is a lifestyle. We want to live a life, not just make a living… whoever trades vape to make a living, or to buy a car, LV (Louis Vuitton) bags for their wives, this is all artificial and they will regret it when they die,” she said to a question from a member of the audience as to whether gains made from selling vape equipments are religiously legit.

The vaping industry came in for Putrajaya’s attention when the Health Ministry announced that it was considering a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes due to possible health concerns.

But this revelation prompted the appearance of Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob as a cheerleader of sorts for the industry, disclosing positive news from the Cabinet ahead of official disclosure from the Health Ministry.

Ismail went on to encourage vape traders to expand both locally and abroad even as the Health Ministry raided outlets and seized vape liquids containing nicotine, a controlled substance that may only be dispensed by pharmacists according to local laws.

Last week, Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar decreed that all vape stores in the state be banned beginning January 1 next year.

In an interview with The Star Online, Sultan Ibrahim said his state will apply local regulations to prohibit such outlets once the grace period of December has ended. 

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