MoH should learn from the UK on regulating vape

UK has a proven successful track record in reducing the number of smokers and preventing the abuse of vaping products

By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

THE Health Ministry (MoH) should learn from the UK on regulating nicotine vape industry, said the Malaysian Vape Chamber of Commerce (MVCC).

According to MVCC, the UK has a proven successful track record in reducing the number of smokers and preventing the abuse of vaping products.

MVCC president Syed Azaudin Syed Ahmad said the special committee set up by the MoH needs to study the control measures implemented by the authorities in the UK on the nicotine vape industry.

“We cannot ignore the fact that vaping has proven to be safer than cigarettes.

“A study by Public Health England, a government agency of the Department of Health and Social Care in the UK, has shown that vape use with nicotine liquid is 95% safer than cigarettes. Moreover, the latest study by the University College London also reinforces the effective role of vape in helping people to stop smoking by switching to safer products,” Syed Azaudin said in a statement yesterday.

Syed Azaudin said a recent study conducted in the UK by University College London, with the support of the Cancer Research UK, has found that 50,000 to 70,000 cigarette smokers in the UK have quit smoking each year and have successfully switched to vaping.

He added that regulations for the vape industry in the UK should be taken as a viable example, given the country has been able to reduce smoking rates with the use of nicotine vape, while having no drug-related incidents like those in the US.

In July, two e-cigarette shops have opened in two National Health Service (NHS) hospitals in the West Midlands, England.

Run by Ecigwizard, a leading UK supplier of e-liquid and e-cigarettes, the outlets are opened in Sandwell General Hospital and Birmingham City Hospital, both run by Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust.

Various parties have protested against vaping products following the rise of vaping-linked death in the US which has now crossed 33 cases, according to media reports.

As of Oct 15, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 33 deaths, among 1,479 lung injuries associated with the use of e-cigarettes.

Syed Azaudin said the vape industry regrets the development in the US, although investigations have shown that most cases resulted from the abuse of vape products involving tetrahydrocannabinol found in marijuana-type drugs.

“All parties, especially the MoH, need to take into account the incidents that occurred in the US were because of abuse involving drugs. These incidences in the US are isolated and have not occurred in other countries.

“If we look at the UK, where the country encourages the use of vape to reduce smoking rates, there are proper controls in place including the strict prohibition of drug use,” he said.

MVCC, according to Syed Azaudin, supports the calls to prohibit the sale and use of nicotine vape by minors in Malaysia and strongly urge the introduction of regulations to prevent the sale and use of e-cigarettes products to those who are underage.

He also said the industry supports any enforcement action taken against those found to be selling the product to those under the age of 18.

The Malaysian Reserve reported that more than 5,000 enterprises including some 1,800 vape shop owners will be impacted once the government enforces the law to regulate the use and sale of e-cigarettes in the country.

Malaysia E-Vaporisers and Tobacco Alternative Association VP Niezam Talib said a concrete policy on vaping is needed and the group has suggested that more consultations should be held between the government and industry players.