GEORGE TOWN, Oct 2 — The Penang Consumers Association (CAP) has called for a total ban on the sale and use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices (EVC) in the country as even school children are using these electronic devices.
CAP President Mohideen Abdul Kader said the country needs follow in the footsteps of 42 countries including neighbours, Thailand and Singapore, to ban vaping entirely.
“In a recent CAP survey involving 1,000 primary and secondary students on EVC and smoking, we found that students were forming groups of six to 10 and naming themselves after e-liquids,” he said in a press conference at the CAP office this morning.
He said the students would meet at hypermarkets and supermarkets near the schools and collect money weekly to buy e-liquids.
“Some of the students become sales agents in return for free e-liquids or discounts on the products,” he said.
Mohideen said the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were 12 deaths out of the 805 vaping-related lung illnesses across the United States.
He said there are an estimated one million vapers in Malaysia and about 10 per cent are minors.
“A 2017 study conducted in Malaysia revealed that 54 per cent of these vapers interviewed obtained their zero-nicotine e-liquid from the black market and the 30 per cent obtained homemade e-liquid,” he said.
He warned that Malaysia could be on the edge of a possible public health crisis if there are cases of unreported vaping-related lung diseases.
“Unlike in the US, here in Malaysia, the health authorities have not set up a system to check if there are similar undetected vaping-related cases in the country,” he said.
He stressed that it was misleading to claim that vaping is less dangerous compared to smoking because it may cause lung diseases such as emphysema and obliterative bronchiolitis.
Obliterative bronchiolitis is the scarring and narrowing of the airways by the chemical diacetyl found in some e-liquids and the disease is irreversible, he said.
Mohideen said a study in 2015 revealed that diacetyl was discoursed in 39 out of 51 e-liquids and there were more than 7,000 e-cigarette flavours in the US market.
“Furthermore, in 2017, US researchers discovered proteins in the airways of e-cigarette smokers that are known to contribute to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” he said.
He pointed out that vaping involves the use of e-liquid and little is known about the long-term effects of the chemicals found in e-liquids.
He said vaping and e-cigarettes should be banned due to its use among minors and it could also lead to tobacco smoking addiction.