Two years ago the Penang Consumer Association disclosed that primary and secondary school students abused the electronic cigarettes (e-cigarette). During that time very few people were aware of the impact of vaping in the society only until last month when the Ministry of Health announced that the government might ban the use of the e-cigarette. It was to avoid health risks posed by vaping with the e-cigarette. The public was then awakened by such announcement.
However the Deputy Health Minister disclosed that the ban was not finalized yet as the existing regulation on vaping with the e-cigarette was not subjected to the smoking law. Hence it was not the time yet for the government to ban the e-cigarette. Recently schools in Johor discovered that there was a sales networking in e-cigarette within the school compound. Year Six pupils had become “sales agent” too so what action would be taken by the Deputy Minister of Health?
At present other than the Minister of Health and the Minister of Youth and Sports, the other Cabinet Ministers did not directly support the ban on the e-cigarette. Similarly there were no lawmakers from the Opposition who directly supported the ban on vaping. Most of them diverted their response towards doctors’ advice or government agencies. One minister disclosed that the ban on the e-cigarette was to jeopardize the interest of young Malay entrepreneurs. What type of idea was given by the minister; didn’t he know that most of the juvenile smokers were from the Malay ethnic group?
Even the former Minister of Trade and Industry Tan Sri Rafidah could not stomach the rationale given. She did not mince her words. She expressed that she could not understand why the government was still in the dilemma of banning the e-cigarette. She also pointed out the government should not politicize the health issue but should consider the national and social interest as priority.
Were the ministers in the present Cabinet embarrassed when the former Minister openly supported anti vaping?
Malay National primary school students were addicted to vaping.
It was publicly known that the majority of the juvenile smokers were Malay students and the Penang Consumer Association also pointed out that many primary school students from national schools were addicted to vaping. Vaping is not a racial problem but an unhealthy social culture. This unhealthy phenomenon hinders the establishment of the society positively and proactively. The government should be cautious and consider the matter more seriously.
Many people opined that the government should ban cigarettes before banning vaping. In fact banning cigarette smoking is a once and for all measure. Meanwhile there is no such regulation or law present. Therefore vaping through e-cigarette is widely spread. The juveniles or youth can possess e-cigarettes easily and vaping soon spread into the school compound. Even the second son of the Prime Minister, Nazifuddin and the daughter of the Deputy Prime Minister, Nurulhidayah championed for vaping. Will they change their stand if their children have become vaping addicts?
There were 12 nations which had banned the sale and import of e-cigarettes completely. Even though the National Islamic Council had forbidden Muslims from vaping and the Malaysian Medical Association had also urged the Ministry of Health to ban vaping but until now the government was still indecisive. What a joke!
A survey revealed that students cheated their parents on the pretext of purchasing reference books but actually to purchase e-cigarettes. The situation was very critical yet UMNO ministers were still unwilling to ban vaping. Are they waiting happily to see the future generation ruined?