MSHR: Regulations for vape products need to consider its harm reduction potential

KUALA LUMPUR– As the Malaysian Government is taking steps to regulate vape products, the Malaysian Society for Harm Reduction (MSHR) called on the Government to develop regulations that will take into consideration the potential of vape products in helping to reduce smoking prevalence in Malaysia. 

Earlier, it was reported that the Poisons Board are meeting to discuss the potential exemption on vape liquids or gel containing nicotine from the Poisons Act 1952 which is a step that is needed to enable regulations to be introduced onto vape products. The Health Minister has also stated today that the Ministry is expediting the tobacco bill to be tabled in the Parliament soon.

Professor Dr. Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh, Chairman of MSHR and a Community Health Physician and Health Economics Specialist from the Faculty of Medicine Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), said “This is signaling that the Ministry of Health is taking steps to regulate vape products which is a step in the right direction. The current situation where vape products are unregulated cannot be left unattended and needs to be addressed immediately.”

“While waiting for the tobacco bill to be tabled in Parliament, MSHR believes immediate amendments to current regulations need to take place to enable controls be imposed onto vape products. MSHR urge all parties to support this move so that the Government can take steps to regulate vape products immediately to protect consumers from prohibited ingredients, prevent potential contaminations from open system products and prohibit products falling into the hands of minors.” 

At the same time, MSHR also urged the Government to develop regulation that will take into consideration the harm reduction potential of vape products. 

“Multiple independent datas from local and international researches show that vape has been proven to be less harmful compared to smoking and is effective in assisting smokers to quit smoking. These independent researches have also been acknowledged by the UK and New Zealand governments who are spearheading the tobacco harm reduction agenda.”

“Therefore, in developing the regulations for vape products, the Health Ministry needs to consider the harm reduction potential for vape products and introduce appropriate regulations to regulate the products instead of categorising it in the same way as cigarettes,” said Professor Dr. Sharifa.

At the same time, MSHR also urge the Government to hold more discussions and conduct in-depth studies on the Generational End Game (GEG) proposal.

Professor Dr. Sharifa said, “MSHR believes that GEG will send a wrong message to smokers given the fact that it treats vape products in the same way as cigarettes and tobacco. This will deter smokers from switching to vape. In light of this, MSHR suggests that the Government should establish an independent committe that is driven by science and evidence to conduct in-depth research and studies on vape products before deciding on imposing GEG for the product.”

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