Addiction treatment advocates call banning vape ‘counter-productive’, say only makes quitting cigarettes harder

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 — A group calling itself the Advanced Centre for Addiction Treatment Advocacy (Acata) today said that it disagrees with the government’s proposal to ban “less harmful alternatives” to cigarettes, such as electronic cigarettes which include vapes.

Acata president Dr Arifin Fii said that although it found the government’s move to reduce smoking encouraging, a “catch-all” ban would be counter-productive.

“The ban on less harmful alternatives including vapes will make it inaccessible and thus make quitting smoking harder for current smokers.

“As a result, Malaysia’s smoking prevalence will continue to stagnate, if not grow, over the next decade,” he said in a statement.

Dr Arifin cited a 2020 study by the Malaysian chapter of International Tobacco Control — a global cohort study of tobacco use — that found that only 0.6 per cent of non-smokers use e-cigarettes.

He claimed that the study debunked the idea that vapes appeal to new users.

“There is substantial and credible evidence to support that vape products are much less harmful than smoking. Evidence also shows that vaping efficiently helps smokers to quit,” he said.

Dr Arifin also said that it is important for all stakeholders to work together to develop appropriate regulations which allow smokers to access and have the confidence to use less harmful products.

“This move sends a wrong message to current smokers as the government portrays vape to be as harmful as traditional cigarettes without any differentiation,” he added, referring to the ban.

Earlier today, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that the Tobacco and Smoking Products Control Bill 2022 will be presented in Parliament next week.

The proposed Bill essentially prevents those born on January 1, 2007 and onwards from ever purchasing tobacco and other related products, even when they reach 18 years old, which is the current legal age for consumption.

Earlier propositions for the bill had planned to affect those born in 2005 and onwards.

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