KUALA LUMPUR – November 23, 2018: Two health experts are alerting the government not to be hasty regarding the smoking ban at eateries.
What was planned to be a ban on cigarette smoking has now widened to include electronic cigarettes (vape) and hookah loaded with nicotine.
To Dr. Ng Yee Guan of University Putra Malaysia, the latest development could be deemed as being hasty as it is almost impractical for enforcers to determine which vape devices contain nicotine and which do not.
Instead, he suggests that the government consider implementing other measures to go side by side with this policy to further enhance its effectiveness.
“Since the government is looking to curb the effect on secondary smokers, it can consider allowing a properly built and well ventilated smoking room in restaurants so that smokers have no reason to not comply with the ban.
“Also, the ban on vaping can be further detailed because as of now, there is scientific evidence and research showing how vape is not as harmful as cigarettes and thus may not warrant a complete ban,” said Ng.
Associate Professor Asrul Akmal Shafie of University of Science Malaysia echoed Ng’s belief that the government is going in the right direction when it comes to reducing harm caused by smoking.
However, he too believes that this policy can be further fine-tuned to bring better effectiveness since it is not possible to suddenly curb smoking habits entirely.
“Not all vape or hookah contain nicotine and it will not be easy to determine which is which.
“This policy could go hand in hand with alternative smoking encouragement so as to shift their habits to something less harmful, especially to the surrounding.
“Today, technology has given us nicotine patch, nicotine gum, alternative cigarettes such as vapes, heat-not-burn tobacco and many more as means to stop smoking.
“I agree that cold-turkey style of quitting the habit is the best way to go, but not everyone can do it. That is why alternatives should be looked upon,” said Asrul.