KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — Malaysia asserted that e-cigarettes are not safer than tobacco cigarettes, despite UK health authorities’ claims that vaping is 95 per cent less harmful than smoking.
Malaysia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) said e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes each had their own side effects.
“There have been many claims that electronic cigarettes can help smokers to quit smoking, but until now, scientific studies have yet to prove that they can treat conventional addiction problems,” MOH said in a written parliamentary reply to Senator Ti Lian Ker in Dewan Negara last December 10.
“Bullen et al’s 2013 study couldn’t prove that the use of electronic cigarettes can help treat smoking problems.”
The study by Bullen from the University of Auckland’s National Institute for Health Innovation, which investigated whether e-cigarettes were more effective than nicotine patches in helping smokers to quit smoking, found that e-cigarettes, with or without nicotine, were “modestly effective” at helping smokers to quit.
E-cigarettes had a similar achievement of abstinence from smoking as with nicotine patches.
“Uncertainty exists about the place of e-cigarettes in tobacco control, and more research is urgently needed to clearly establish their overall benefits and harms at both individual and population levels,” the study said.
The United States’ Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently concluded that a nationwide lung disease outbreak linked to vaping, which has killed 54 and hospitalised over 2,500 people, was mainly due to the use of illegal THC-containing e-cigarettes with vitamin E acetate additive. THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana.
Malaysia has yet to decide on whether to ban e-cigarettes and vaping products completely or to regulate them.