KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 ― A federal minister today threw his weight behind the nascent vaping industry, claiming it should not be banned as it is less harmful compared to smoking, as Putrajaya mulls the possibility of banning the electronic smoking alternative.
Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said a British study found that e-cigarettes carry just 5 per cent of the risk of tobacco and should be widely adopted by smokers, citing a news report by The Telegraph.
“God willing, I will provide my opinion so that the suggestion will be studied in detail so that vaping will not be banned because news from Britain, where vaping is not banned and smokers are encouraged to switch to vaping,” he said in a post on his Facebook page.
“If smoking is more dangerous than vaping, why not ban smoking?
“God willing I will listen to the Health Minister's explanation and give my opinion as well,” Ismail added.
Yesterday, Health Minister Datuk Seri S Subramaniam said the ministry is studying existing laws to possibly impose a ban on vaping in Malaysia.
He said a ban would be the best solution as he believes the rising trend of vaping would be difficult to control if left unchecked.
“If it were up to me, I would want to implement the ban as soon as possible because I feel we need to stop this before it becomes a big issue,” he told reporters when met at the Parliament lobby.
The National Fatwa Council has prohibited Muslims from vaping amid the rapid growth of the multi-million ringgit industry in Malaysia that is purportedly the second biggest in the world.
In a report by local daily The Star last June, Vaporizer Convention Kuala Lumpur 2015 co-organiser Ibrahim Mohamed was quoted as saying that Malaysia’s vape industry is worth half a billion ringgit and is the second biggest globally after the United States and is the largest in Asia.
Ibrahim reportedly said there are an estimated one million vapers in Malaysia.