Vaping: It’s not the nicotine that kills you ― Hafidz Baharom

JANUARY 7 ― With the New Year, comes the resolutions. And for my little project, it is to convince smokers to switch from cigarettes to either an electric cigarette, or a vape. Especially in these few months that the Ministry of Health is motivated to issue compounds to smokers.

Personally, I don’t see it lasting till after February. Hopefully they will prove me wrong.

Coming from a family of five smokers being myself and my brothers with a father having retired from smoking after swearing to do so in Mecca (yes, some do take it seriously), there is a need to shift towards less harmful alternatives.

So, what argument that works best?

The price of a pack of e-cigarettes, a vape liquid pod or even a bottle of refilling liquid is all cheaper in the long run than traditional tobacco. And, of course, it is less harmful compared to cigarettes.

Currently, the Malaysian Ministry of Health is in the midst of deciding how to regulate vaping liquids, with quite a lot of interest being put on the nicotine content.

I find this odd ― because looking at the research papers on vaping concerns, it is mainly the content of additives such as Vitamin E acetate and CBD oil.

As such, there is a need for technology to catch up to health concerns when it comes to vaping devices and the issue of heavy metal poisoning. Technology evolves fast, but there must be a demand for it. So, do write to your suppliers to get this pushed and nudged forward.

But at the same time, isn’t the government in this matter focusing on the wrong thing? Shouldn’t it instead be looking at what additives are being added to the liquids rather than the nicotine content?

In fact, isn’t this what other nation’s regulations have in common, from the EU to Canada, which is why they do not have cases of the lung issues seen in the United States?

Now, vaping has gotten itself into some trouble not just in Malaysia, but also around the world. Specifically here, whatever happened to the media highlighted case in Labuan of a supposed sufferer to that similar in America?

Whatever you find mentioned in the news, whatever research is being mentioned out there, the crux is this ― vaping and e-cigarettes are still less damaging than cigarettes.

More importantly, it is not just less harmful for you, but also those around you since there’s no secondhand smoke which is what poisons those around you.

Quite honestly though, when you consider exhaust fumes, the current 3-metre rule on cigarette smoke is really just security theatre, isn’t it?

Well, whatever rocks your boat, and can be enforced, more power to you.

If we do have a government that is serious about cutting down particulates and lung health and not just kowtowing to people, they really should also police emissions from vehicles just as seriously as smoking.

We are the worst in the region in terms of regulating diesel vehicles, and even ensuring emission regulations are enforced. So sure, make the smoker and vaper walk three metres to smoke while the car runs its engine right next to you.

Allow buses on the road spewing black smoke, trucks without constant maintenance pollute the air, and then blame the increasing cases of cancer on unhealthy eating habits.

There is a need for a holistic approach to dealing with air pollution, and not just penalise smokers whilst letting every single vehicle driver and rider not to take some responsibility for doing the same.

Like I said, it’s not the nicotine that kills you ― it is everything else attached and added to it. Be it the carcinogenic secondhand smoke, the acetate and CBD oil, or even the sulfur and carbon monoxide spewed from petroleum and diesel cars ― which seems to be more addictive than the nicotine.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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