KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will spend more on medical treatments if the government doesn’t act fast to regulate e-cigarettes and vape.
Health expert Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar said the number of e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury (EVALI) cases in the country could be higher than recently reported by the Health Ministry.
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa told the Dewan Rakyat that 18 EVALI cases had been reported since 2022, and treatment costs could reach up to RM150,000 per patient.
“There could be more, including mild cases, that we are unaware of. This is highly concerning because many vape users are children, as the devices are easily available and cheap as there are no laws to regulate it.
“If left unchecked, we will see younger patients suffering from EVALI. We should act fast to prevent this,” said Dr Zainal when contacted.
The Control of Smoking Product for Public Health Bill, dubbed the Generational Endgame (GEG), could help nip the problem in the bud, as well as prevent long-term damage and losses to the country due to e-cigarettes, he said.
“(The government should) proceed with the (tabling of the) bill (in the parliament) first. The penalties, which have raised concerns among some quarters can be debated.
“The more important thing is to put it (GEG) in place to regulate the content (of e-cigarettes) and its use. There is currently zero control over e-cigarettes, especially now with the exclusion of nicotine from the Poisons Act 1952.”
Several non-governmental organisations, including the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP), have also urged the government to expedite the tabling of the bill, which covers regulations on e-cigarettes and vape, as well as tougher control on the use of tobacco.
Source: New Straits Times