No price tag big enough to justify risking addiction among youth


IN 2016, the Malaysian Cabinet decided to regulate vaping instead of banning its sale like our neighbours Singapore, Thailand and Brunei Darussalam did.

At that time, there was no adequate scientific data on the effects of vaping.

However, among the reasons for deciding to regulate vaping and vape devices instead of banning them was commercial interests: It was claimed that it would profit small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs).

Soon after the US Food and Drug Administration started regulating vaping in 2016, there was a rapid resurgence of the use of tobacco products linked to vaping among American children and young adults. Now, an estimated one in five of their high school seniors are vaping. There have also been reports of illicit drugs being put into the vape devices, such as marijuana and flakka, that has caused many deaths.

Fast forward to 2019: 13 states, two territories and 841 municipalities in the United States have outlawed vaping in smoke-free public areas due to the uptake of vaping among children and young people.

Today in Malaysia, with all of this new information, do we still want to regulate vaping and put our young people at risk of addiction?

What makes us think that we can do a better job of regulation than the United States, a richer country than us?

On Sept 9, in an interview, a member of the Malaysia E-Vaporizers & Tobacco Alternative Association said that Indonesia has collected US$30mil (RM125mil) in tax in three months from selling vaping products and devices.

Can any amount of money justify putting our young people at risk of addiction? Definitely not. We hope that the current Cabinet will review the 2016 decision on vaping.

Lastly, the Malaysian Association for Adolescent Health calls for an immediate ban on vaping. Protect our young people before vaping-

related deaths and diseases rob our youth of their future. They depend on you.

DR MYMOON ALIAS

President

Malaysian Association for Adolescent Health (Maah)

   

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