Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ministry awaiting report on e-ciggie

The Star Online
PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry will decide whether to ban e-cigarettes and shisha after a report on their effects is produced by the end of August.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry would study the possibility of prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to children instead of a blanket ban.
However, this is still subject to the recommendations by a committee set up to look into scientific evidence on the “harmful effects” of shisha or waterpipe smoking and e-cigarettes.
“The committee will also verify claims that e-cigarettes may help smokers to quit the habit,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry would then decide based on the scientific report on whether to ban or regulate the sale and use of the two products.
“Meanwhile, we welcome the fatwa issued by the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) to ban shisha, which is in tandem with the ministry’s initiative on tobacco control,” he said.
It was reported that the Consumers Association of Penang had urged the ministry to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to prevent youths from getting hooked on it as there was no age limit on the sale of the product.
The Fatwa (Edicts) Committee of the National Council for Islamic Affairs declared smoking shisha as forbidden for Muslims after considering it a health hazard.
Dr Noor Hisham said about 123,000 Malaysians aged 15 and above smoked shisha while approximately 164,000 adults smoked e-cigarettes, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey in 2011.
“The number of shisha and e-cigarette smokers may have increased in recent years due to the two products gaining popularity, especially among young adults, which is something we view with concern,” he said.
A proponent of e-cigarettes, who declined to be named, questioned the move by the Government to consider banning e-cigarettes based on health reasons but not ordinary cigarettes.
“The level of nicotine in e-cigarettes can be lowered to zero whereas ordinary cigarettes have a fixed amount,” he said.
The 41-year-old, who has been smoking e-cigarettes since 2009, said there was no second-hand smoke from e-cigarettes as only vapour was produced

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