80% of Malaysians say health improved after switching to vape: Study

PETALING JAYA: A large majority of Malaysians have reported health improvements since switching from smoking to vaping.

This is according to a study conducted by leading cardiologist and harm-reduction researcher Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos on more than 7,000 Malaysians in the first half of 2016.

In a statement today, regional consumer advocacy group Factasia.org revealed that the survey found 82.6% of those who have switched from smoking to using e-cigarettes reported improvements in their general health.

"The study revealed that 91.4% reported improvements in their breathing, 74.9% said they had improved quality of sleep, 89.5% had improved sense of smell and 88% had an improved sense of taste.

"It also showed that fewer than one percent had used e-cigarettes other than a switch from smoking," it said.

This in addition to the at least two-thirds of the respondents who have stopped smoking altogether since taking up vaping, and another 27% were able to reduce their smoking.

"Most believed they would revert to, or increase, smoking if they were not allowed to vape," it added.

Factasia co-founder John Boley pointed that a long list of public health authorities around the world have pronounced e-cigarettes to be at least 95% safer than smoking and have enacted regulations that enable adult consumers to make the choice to switch to vaping.

He said he hoped Malaysia's delegation to the World Health Organisation (WHO) conference in India in November will take the opportunity to announce regulations that would allow consumers to switch from smoking.

"Making a positive decision in this issue would be a great step forward in an enlightened and progressive public health policy. We hope the relevant ministries have taken on board the evidence of United Kingdom and European Union and allow citizens to choose," he said.

The anonymous survey was conducted online in both Malay and English, with an average respondent age of 30.