Increase in vaping and e-cigarette use by children in Malaysia

In Malaysia, the Penang Consumers Association (CAP) has urged the government’s Ministry of Health to immediately ban all vaping devices and e-cigarettes (also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems) to prevent a large number of children do become addicted to nicotine.
According to WHO data, e-cigarettes contain nicotine and other toxic substances that harm both users and non-users who are indirectly exposed to aerosols. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance and evidence suggests that non-smoking minors who use ENDS are twice as likely to smoke tobacco cigarettes later in life.

According to a study by CAP, Malaysian children can easily buy cheap vapes and e-cigarettes because sellers do not ask buyers’ ages. Children as young as 8 years old (who may have smoked cigarettes before) can purchase vaping devices. Groups of children can share the prices of vaping devices and e-cigarettes.

Mohideen Abdul Kader (CAP, Penang, Malaysia) said in a letter that although electronic nicotine delivery systems only became commercially available in Malaysia in early 2015, the number of people using these products in the country increased from 600,000 in 2016 to 1.2 million in 2019. From 2015 to 2020, about 30 cases of vaping-related poisonings were reported by the National Poison Center (Universiti Sains Malaysia, George Town, Malaysia) , mostly in children between the ages of 1 and 4, who are particularly at risk of death after ingesting electronic cigarette liquid.
In Malaysia, the incidence of childhood cancer is nearly 77.4 per million children under 15 years of age. Several studies suggest an increased risk of developing cancer associated with the use of e-cigarettes. Research published in February 2022 suggests that people who use e-cigarettes are at a higher risk of cancer than non-smokers. Evidence also suggests that American men and women ages 18 and older with a history of e-cigarette use have an increased risk of developing bladder cancer and lung cancer compared to people who don’t. have never smoked. Preclinical research in mice exposed to e-cigarette smoke has shown that these animals develop lung adenocarcinoma and urothelial hyperplasia of the bladder.

Moon-shong Tang (New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA) stated that “e-cigarette users, regardless of age, have a higher cancer risk than non-users”. To fight against childhood cancer, Malaysia should “[ban] e-cigarette sales to minors,” he said. The Lancet Oncology.

Boris Mravec (Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia) said The Lancet Oncology, “the use of e-cigarettes containing nicotine in children may have, in addition to a detrimental effect on brain development, another negative effect; specifically, it can stimulate the development and progression of cancer. It is known that inhaled nicotine has a stimulating effect on the sympatho-adrenal system, while norepinephrine and adrenaline released from the sympathetic nerve endings and the medulla of the adrenal glands affect almost all processes related to tumorigenesis, growth tumor and the development of metastases.

However, Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh (National University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) said that “[at] for the moment, the literature mentions that the risk of vaping (quality vape juice, not falsified) is almost negligible. We would need long-term vaping data and clinical studies using real-world settings,” she said. The Lancet Oncology. Regarding childhood cancer, she added that “a better idea would be to facilitate better detection and better access to early care. This will require financial and human resources [developments] which are strained in low-income and middle-income countries. Likewise, we need better screening in Malaysia and access to better care, especially for [people with] low income and living in rural areas.

More than 20 countries, the majority in South America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, have banned the sale of e-cigarette products, and other countries including Australia, Norway and Canada , have restrictions in place, according to Subbarow.

Recommend The Lancet Oncology to your librarian

About Margaret Shaw

Check Also

Problems behind the smokescreen

Vape waste collected during the last beach cleaning and waste audit with Apii Nikao. …