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‘Malaysia needs to correct its misperception on vaping’

May 30, 2024

Khairil Azizi Khairuddin

As World Vape Day is observed today (30 May), Malaysia Vapers Alliance (MVA), a local vape consumer advocacy group, highlighted a “critical yet overlooked” issue: Malaysia’s misperception on vaping.

Evidence has shown that vaping poses 95 per cent lower risks than smoking, but 74 per cent of smokers worldwide believe that vaping is just as harmful or even more so. Worst in Malaysia, the misperception is also widespread and this widespread misperception is preventing millions of smokers from making a potentially life-saving switch, MVA said.

“World Vape Day is a good platform to correct this misinformation and highlight its benefits especially in Malaysia. It is time to stop fighting less harmful alternatives. Instead, we should embrace it as an essential tool against smoking,” Khairil Azizi Khairuddin, president of MVA, commented.

According to Khairuddin, the pragmatic approach of Sweden, which is on the verge of becoming smoke-free by endorsing less harmful nicotine products should inspire global policies.

“However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) continues to oppose these products, exacerbating the smoking crisis. This approach is flawed and putting millions of lives at risk,” he said.

“The belief that vaping is as harmful as smoking constitutes a public health emergency. Numerous studies, including those by Public Health England, have consistently shown that vaping is significantly less harmful. However, persistent misinformation keeps smokers from understanding their options.”

MVA urged the Malaysian government to emulate the success of countries like Sweden and New Zealand, which have demonstrated that providing accurate information helps smokers switch to less harmful alternatives.

“Thus reducing smoking prevalence in the country and improving smoking-related disease, saving lives. It is important for the healthcare system to be well-informed on these and provide safer smoking cessation approach for smokers,” Khairuddin concluded.