In a first of its kind survey of adult smokers in Malaysia, a regional consumer advocacy group found that most smokers surveyed saw e-cigarettes as a ‘positive alternative’ to tobacco products. Factasia.org co-founder Heneage Mitchell said 75% of the respondents would consider buying e-cigarettes via other channels or countries, if they were not legally sold here. Already, some 26% of vapers get their e-cigs’ online. So, banning it would simply push the industry underground, he said. The number of adult Malaysian e-cigarette users, or vapers, is estimated to be between 250,000 and one million, he said.
“The use of e-cigarettes should be restricted to adults but they are here to stay. “There’s a clear need for Malaysia to regulate the industry, establish quality standards, tax the products rationally and ensure they are sold only to adults. “Banning it will be a mistake because like conventional tobacco products, it will cause the illicit market to thrive,” he said. The recent online survey polled 404 legal-age smokers in Malaysia to gauge consumers’ views on safer alternatives to conventional cigarettes. Surveys were also conducted in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Taiwan and New Zealand. “In Malaysia, 100% of those surveyed know about e-cigs and 69% have either used it or are using it. “So, there’s a need to protect consumers. They want positive Government action,” he said in an interview on Friday.
On June 28, Sunday Star highlighted the country’s booming vape industry. Despite being worth half-a-billion-ringgit, the market remains unregulated unlike in most countries where it is either banned or controlled. Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had said that a technical working group to study the impact of e-cigarettes on smokers and those surrounding them has been formed and the upcoming report, which includes e-cigs’ as an alternative to reduce smoking, will be used to create a new policy on vaping activities in the country. Read full article