A rational approach

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A rational approach

August 21, 2018

Malaysia’s Minister of Health, Dzulkefly Ahmad, has been asked whether he has been reading the evidence about electronic cigarettes coming out of the UK.

This question was raised in an opinion piece in the Malay Mail by Sarah Zailana Hamid, who made the point that while nobody was saying that e-cigarettes were absolutely safe, what was being said was that they were less harmful than were combustible cigarettes.

She said she hoped that Malaysia would move towards a similar stance as that recommended in a report published on Friday by the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.

Such a stance would allow for the usage of e-cigarettes while conducting annual reviews to determine the long-term effects with a publicly funded health committee providing oversight.

‘Because if our government insists on waiting until those long-term effects are visible, we will be looking at no alternative to smoking and thus, letting the Malaysian smoking population continue to miss the opportunity for a less harmful choice,’ she said.

‘The report also pointed out the stigma over vaping, and how the second-hand vapor had “negligible health risks”. Thus, the media should bear some responsibility for demonising the vaping community in the past which led to the overreaction from our authorities and the general public.

‘Truth be told, there is a need for an independent study of Malaysians on e-cigarettes and such devices, a monitoring of their long-term health effects, while the government allows these products to be promoted as an alternative to traditional cigarettes for people trying to quit smoking.

‘I do hope that Dzulkefly manages to push through such a change so that we can truly move forward towards a healthier Malaysia with the principle of harm reduction rather than an outright ban.’

Category: Breaking News

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