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Consumer group: M'sian students starting to vape

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The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) says it has received complaints from teachers about children as young as 12 years old vaping, or smoking electronic cigarettes.

Its president, Mr S.M. Mohd Idris, said teachers have complained that this had caused disciplinary issues in schools, Malaysia's The Star reported.

"They complained that they cannot control the students," he said.

The association was disappointed that the Cabinet had decided to regulate e-cigarettes instead of banning them.

Mr Idris said: "Why is the Cabinet rushing into the decision so quickly since the Health Ministry is still looking into the safety of e-cigarettes?"

He said teachers had complained to CAP that children in primary and secondary schools had started to vape in toilets and bring their equipment to schools, which they were not supposed to.

The children think that vaping is fashionable and are also attracted to the fruity flavours, he said.

Nasi kandar restaurant operators had also complained that customers refused to stop vaping and even wanted to get into a fight with them. They said there was no law against it, although there was nicotine in the e-cigarettes, Mr Idris said.

"The Cabinet is creating more social problems by not banning e-cigarettes," he said.

He said children were buying cheaper vaping equipment which might not be safe and there were concerns they would pick up smoking and drugs later.

Neighbouring countries had banned e-cigarettes and he felt Malaysia should do likewise.

The Cabinet recently announced its decision against imposing a ban on electronic ci­garettes.

This was despite a statement by Deputy Health Minister Hilmi Yahaya that new laws relating to tobacco, electro­nic cigarettes or vape, and shisha would be formulated.

Smoking shisha for an hour is equivalent to smoking 150 cigarettes, Dr Hilmi said.

He said cigarettes had 87 substances that could cause cancer while the propylene glycol in vape could also cause cancer when it is heated and inhaled.

Following the Cabinet decision, Health Minister Dr S. Subramaniam said that the ministry would educate the public over the harmful effects of vaping and regulate its use.

"The Cabinet fully recognises the need for greater public health education into the harmful ef­fects of vaping and the need for stringently regulating it," he said.