There has been a misconception that transitioning to e-cigarettes is the best way to stop or reduce the habit of smoking. Although this idea has gained popularity in recent years, it’s important to note that e-cigarettes are NOT a safe alternative. E-cigarettes carry their own set of dangers and issues.
Yes, e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco; however, many of them still include nicotine, which is a highly addictive component, along with a mixture of different and harmful chemicals.
E-cigarettes, also known as vapes, are handheld devices that use a battery and a heating element to convert a liquid into an aerosol or vapour. Users then inhale this vapor into their lungs.
The vapour that is inhaled consists of various chemicals that are known to cause cancer and multiple health issues. The highly addictive nature of nicotine combined with these chemicals is a recipe for disaster.
It can lead to reduced lung function, heart complications, and increased inflammation, making the dangers of e-cigarettes evident and something that should not be ignored.
The most immediate concern regarding the use of e-cigarettes is their popularity among the youth of Malaysia. Vaping in Malaysia, especially among the youth, has steadily increased over the years.
Flavoured e-liquids, colourful packaging, and enticing marketing tactics have made e-cigarette use appealing to the younger generations, luring them into nicotine addiction at a very young age.
The consequences of this are dire: nicotine addiction, which can lead to smoking traditional cigarettes, impaired brain development, and a lifelong struggle with substance abuse.
Furthermore, the long-term health effects of vaping remain largely unknown. The chemicals in e-liquids, even if deemed safe for ingestion, may transform into harmful compounds when heated and inhaled.
Recent research has raised concerns about vaping’s links to lung injuries and cardiovascular problems, including an increased risk of heart attacks.
Moreover, the alluring flavours in e-cigarettes, often marketed as a harmless aspect of vaping, have led to an alarming surge in cases of serious lung disease, with some tragic fatalities among users.
We must recognise the multiple risks and dangers associated with vaping and take immediate action. As per the expert recommendation, the way forward is to strongly regulate the sale, manufacturing, and distribution of e-cigarettes.
We need our government and policymakers to tighten restrictions on marketing to minors by restricting the use of colourful and enticing packaging and prohibit the manufacturing of flavoured e-cigarettes.
Restrictions and regulations on e-cigarettes must be implemented, and continuous monitoring of e-cigarette products must be ensured to protect public health.
Ultimately, vaping may have initially been perceived as a safer alternative to smoking, but its dangers are undeniable. It’s time to shift the narrative and treat vaping with the caution it deserves.
The lives of our youth and the wellbeing of the general population are at stake, and we cannot afford to let this ticking time bomb explode unchecked.
We must push for stricter regulations on e-cigarettes. The Control of Smoking Products for Public Health Bill is the first step in ensuring the health and safety of Malaysians.
Our lives and the lives of future generations are in their hands.
This article was written by Mohamad Ishak Ahmad Abir, Thaarenee Wiswannadan, Nariza Alysa Azryn, Dr Jessica Anne Canute, Dr Janice Hew Pei Fang, Dr Kavinash Loganathan, Mahirah Ma’som, Chan Wan Thung, Dr Murallitharan Munisamy, and Dr Saunthari Somasundaram.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.