‘No to nicotine’

Not for kids: Reports of teens hooked on the habit has gotten public health experts worried about the growing trend. - Filepic

Most of us have a general idea of what nicotine is – that “thing” inside cigarettes and vapes.

But in reality, nicotine is a deadly yet highly addictive substance found in cigarettes, vapes, cigars, and other tobacco products, electronic or otherwise. Once inhaled or ingested, it takes no more than 10 seconds for nicotine to affect the brain. The brief euphoric feeling is quickly replaced with feelings of anxiety, irritability and restlessness, causing the smoker or vaper to crave another hit.

I watched a video on YouTube, titled “Typical Malaysian Vapers”, and to say I’m shocked at the content and comments is an understatement.

Netizens were full of praise and admiration for the “cool vaping skills” on display.

The reality is that nicotine addiction can quickly take hold, leading to a range of negative health consequences that can impact not only your physical health, but also your personal relationships and well-being. Nicotine addiction also creates a sense of dependence, making it difficult for you to quit even when you know it’s harming your health.

This addiction can lead to mood swings, making it hard for you to focus on anything other than satisfying the craving for nicotine.

The message that smoking and vaping are cool is nothing more that a harmful and false marketing tactic that can lead to a lifetime of addiction and regret.

To address this problem, Malaysia has implemented comprehensive tobacco control laws that regulate the sale, distribution and consumption of tobacco products, and introduced many initiatives to help smokers quit.

Unfortunately, on March 31, liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes was removed from the Poisons List of controlled substances to allow for taxation.

So, now sellers are free to advertise their products openly and theoretically, a five-year-old could purchase it and no one can stop them.

E-liquids with nicotine are taxed 40 sen per millilitre. So a vaper who uses between four and six millilitres per day would only be taxed RM1.60 to RM2.40. Before anyone says there are millions who vape daily, and that it is a good idea to tax them, please do not forget those who need to be treated for the exact same reason!

It was previously reported in the media that for every RM1 tax collected from the sale of cigarettes and vapes, the government will have to spend RM4 to treat patients suffering from the nicotine-related diseases. It is not a gain, but a massive loss!

The decision to remove nicotine from the Poisons List could mark the beginning of Malaysia’s biggest health crisis. A dramatic rise of young people, especially teenagers, are now coming in and out of psychiatrists’ offices, admitted due to nicotine intoxication. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning.


Student, 15Kuala Lumpur

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