Sunday November 1, 2015
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File picture shows Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya holding an electronic cigarette as he speaks to reporters in George Town, October 30, 2015. — Bernama picFile picture shows Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya holding an electronic cigarette as he speaks to reporters in George Town, October 30, 2015. — Bernama picBANGI, Nov 1 — The Health Ministry, who has been calling for a ban on vaping, admitted it has yet to conduct any studies on its harmful effects.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the ministry’s call for the ban was based on research conducted overseas.

“Cigarettes have been around for a long time and we know the effects because we have evidence of its ill effects,” he said.

“Vaping is something new and we will only obtain concrete evidence of its ill effects in 10 to 20 years.”

He said this was why many countries were struggling to control the spread of vaping.

Dr Subramaniam said there had been a high growth in the number of people who vape and it was something to be concerned about.

“Maybe, if at all, the risk will be in a different form but time will tell what are the risks associated with vaping.

“Those in the scientific field don’t talk on perception, we talk based on evidence.

“So, unless there is evidence to prove there are effects, for example, on passive smokers, it will take time for the evidence to build.”

Speaking at the launch of the NGO Health Promotion Convention yesterday, Dr Subramaniam said although the government had announced last Friday that vaping will not be banned, the ministry is looking at the possibility of using existing regulations, including the Poisons Act, to curtail the number of people picking up the habit.

Among the things that would be looked into is the control of vaping areas, age group, taxation and control of imports, similar to the sale of tobacco in the country.

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