KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 24 — A coalition of NGOs has urged Putrajaya today to enforce a blanket ban on e-cigarettes and vaping devices, claiming the industry will spiral out of control otherwise, similar to what has happened with regular cigarettes.

The group claimed that a blanket ban will curb the illegal sale of e-cigarettes compared to regulation, saying the latter will instead push some distributors to sell the devices online or on social media, making monitoring hard.

“This black market will manipulate regulations to avoid taxation, to avoid regulating the forms of devices, regulating the contents of vape liquids and restrictions on flavour additives and nicotine level, that will surely endanger users more.

“Therefore, before history repeats itself like how conventional cigarettes that can no longer be controlled and its usage can no longer be reduced, we once more urge the government today to decide on completely banning e-cigarettes and vapes,” said the 47 groups in a statement.

The coalition pointed out that 43 countries across the world have banned the sale and use of e-cigarettes and vapes, including regional neighbours Singapore, Thailand, Brunei and Cambodia.

It also claimed that vaping will damage lungs from “dangerous chemicals” in the vapour and heavy metals from vape devices’ heating coils and components.

It also asserted that vaping can convert a non-smoker into a user, and claimed that drugs can be added to vape liquids.

Also cited was a 2015 national fatwa council decree that ruled vaping as “haram”, or forbidden for Muslims. Regular cigarettes have already been decreed as “haram” too since 1995.

The statement was signed by groups including the Malaysia Council for Tobacco Control, Malaysia Medical Association, Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations, Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia, Malaysian Integrated Medical Professionals Association and Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society.

Last week, Putrajaya said it is studying the possibility of banning the use of electronic cigarettes and vaping devices completely, following reports of fatalities in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzukefly Ahmad said that a study on the matter is needed, and a special working committee has been formed under the ministry to study it further, before a final decision is made.

Last year, Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye reportedly said the government has no plans to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes and vaping devices, but would instead increase control by way of law, to curb health risk that may arise from the use of the devices.