IPOH: A total ban on vaping and electronic cigarettes could still happen if there is sufficient data to prove that they have adverse effects on users.
Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said this was among several approaches to handle related issues like health, usage among youths and nicotine addiction.
"We are looking at some countries that have banned e-cigarettes.
"However, these are still available online and are even sold openly in these countries," he told reporters after attending a "Majlis Jasamu Dikenang" held by the state Health Department here on Thursday (Oct 31).
"We will need to have more data to make a better policy decision," Dr Lee said, adding that the special task force that was looking into drawing up a new law to control tobacco, vaping and shisha was gathering information.
He added that despite the availability of studies in the US and UK pertaining to health issues and regulations, it was still insufficient to make any decisions yet.
It was reported that some 50 associations and non-governmental organisations throughout the country have signed a memorandum to urge the government to impose a total ban on the use of e-cigarettes and vaping immediately.
It said that the 2016 Tobacco and E-cigarette survey among Malaysian adolescents study estimated that 300,000 school students were vape users.
Meanwhile, advocacy groups have rejected the blanket ban, saying that regulations and enforcement should be conducted instead.
Dr Lee said the government was aware of issues related to vaping and e-cigarettes that had been quite rampant of late.
"We are worried that lots of schoolchildren and young females are taking to vaping and e-cigarettes, deeming these as a 'fashion' or trend," he said.
"In a way, they are using e-cigarettes as a start before they move on to become addicted to nicotine," he said.
"Another approach would be through regulation, allowing sales under strict conditions.
"We hope by next year, we can put out a legislation in regard to vaping and e-cigarettes," he added.
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