THE Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) has urged the Federal Government to impose a blanket ban on e-cigarettes and vaping devices (EVC).
Its president Mohideen Abdul Kader said 12 deaths were reported in 805 vaping-related lung illnesses in the United States, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
He said more than 40 countries had banned vaping while European countries like Austria, Belgium, Germany and Italy had classified e-cigarettes as tobacco products, subjecting them to strict control.
He added that Thailand and Singapore had banned vaping in 2014 and 2018, while India did the same last month.
“We have a ticking time-bomb in our midst as there are about one million vapers in Malaysia, and about 10% of them are minors, ” he said during a press conference at CAP office in Jalan Masjid Negeri, Penang, recently.
Mohideen said unlike the US, the health authority in Malaysia did not have a database to compile the number of cases pertaining to vaping-related illnesses in the country.
“This is where the danger lurks. The government must short-circuit the problem before it gets out of hand, ” he said.
Mohideen said a recent survey carried out by CAP revealed that students were forming groups of six to 10 and naming themselves after e-liquids.
He said the survey involved 1,000 primary and secondary students who either smoke or use EVC.
“They would meet at hypermarkets or 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 added that there were cases of exploding e-cigarette devices, with many unreported.
Despite this, he said the Federal Government had not issued a product recall on such devices from the market.
“We reiterate our call for e-cigarettes and vaping devices to be banned because of health risks, the proliferation of use among minors, and a waste of money spending on a chemical addiction.
“It is also the road to tobacco smoking addiction.
“As for the Health Ministry, it is a financial burden to the country to treat people who have developed vaping-related diseases which could be avoided in the first place, ” he said.