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Majority of Malaysians want sale of e-cigarettes legalised

06 Dec 2019 / 10:04 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: Majority of Malaysian smokers (69%) say that they want to see legislation that would allow for the distribution and sale of nicotine e-cigarettes so that they can have a viable alternative to help them quit regular cigarettes.

At the same time, 66% of Malaysians believe that the government is not doing enough to help smokers quit. In fact, more than half of parents (55%), teachers (51%) and healthcare professionals (52%) polled agreed that the government should emulate the health ministries of countries like the United Kingdom and New Zealand that regulate the sale of nicotine e-cigarettes as a means to help smokers quit.

These revelations are from the Malaysian Perception of Smoking and Vaping Survey, a recent opinion poll conducted by market research company Green Zebras Sdn Bhd.

The poll also found that 58% of Malaysians surveyed believe that nicotine e-cigarettes should be taxed but at a level lower than that of regular cigarettes to encourage people to switch and quit smoking. This sentiment was equally reflected by both smokers and non-smokers alike.

Notably, 72% of all respondents say that they know someone, be it family, friends or colleagues, who vape and 67% said that they know where to purchase nicotine e-cigarettes. Ironically, more than half (57%) polled are aware that nicotine vape products are not allowed to be sold in Malaysia.

However, when non-smokers were asked if they are currently vaping, none of them said they were, thus potentially indicating that non-smokers are not inclined to pick up vaping.

Steve Murphy, managing director and co-founder of Green Zebras, said, “The opinion poll shows that most Malaysians are well aware of nicotine e-cigarettes and even where to get them, as these products are now prevalent in our society.”

“Notably the poll also shows that Malaysians understand the need to regulate nicotine e-cigarettes and make them available to smokers wanting to quit,” he added.

He pointed out that the survey was timely given that the government is currently drafting a new Tobacco Control and Smoking Act.

“This survey provides a better understanding of Malaysians’ perception of smoking and vaping which in turn should help relevant stakeholders to make informed decisions,” he added.

Additional insights into Malaysians’ perception on smoking and vaping will be released in the coming weeks to shed more light on national issues.

The survey covered a sample size of 1,010 Malaysian adults whose views are deemed reflective of the perception of all Malaysian adults across the peninsula.

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