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A. AZIM IDRIS
The consumer group, factasia.org, says the use of e-cigarettes should be restricted to those aged more than 18.
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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3, 2015:
Over 90% of Malaysian smokers feel the government should encourage adult smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives and ensure vaping devices were not used by those aged below 18.
A survey by factasia.org, a consumer group, revealed this could be achieved via tax and regulatory policies.
Recent reports have put the number of adult vapers in Malaysia at between 250,000 and one million.
Currently, there are no recognised standards or quality regulations on vaping.
The factasia.org survey highlights consumers’ concerns about the need for efficient regulation of the products as well as their availability.
While the group agreed that the use of e-cigarettes should be restricted to adults, they acknowledged that vaping devices were “here to stay” and consumers deserved the protection of regulations and standards that they expected in other products.
“Our survey shows they are calling for positive government action,” factasia.org co-founder Heneage Mitchell told The Rakyat Post.
Mitchell said factasia carried out the survey — conducted by leading global polling company Ipsos in May and June this year —in order to gain a better understanding of Asian consumers’ demand for less harmful alternatives to tobacco.
The survey polled 404 legal-age smokers in Malaysia and was conducted by Ipsos.
It was conducted across statistically relevant gender and age groups during the May-June 2015 period using online interviews.
The same survey was also conducted in five other markets in the region and the results will be released shortly.
“We are by no means advocates of smoking or vaping, but encourage rational debate and sensible regulations on e-cigarettes for the benefit of consumers.
“We are also hoping to meet Malaysian legislators to discuss the matter.”
In recent years, vaping has been become an established alternative to smoking and is widely popular in the United States and European Union, including the United Kingdom where there are some 2.7 million adult vapers.
The survey found that more than two-thirds of Malaysian smokers said they have used e-cigarettes.
Of these, 75% said they do so primarily “as an alternative to regular cigarettes”.
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