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BANGI: The Health Ministry has urged smokers who have switched to electronic cigarettes to refrain from using liquid nicotine as it was more hazardous.
Its minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said liquid nicotine was a controlled drug under the Poisons Act 1952.
“We hope the public will take this seriously as the usage of liquid nicotine is dangerous,” he told reporters.
“The ministry is closely monitoring the sale of these e-cigarettes as we want to reduce the smoking habit among the public,” he said.
He was responding to the Sarawak state health director Dr Zulkifli Jantan’s statement that the nicotine released by e-cigarettes was the same amount as conventional cigarettes and its benefits or risk were uncertain.
The statement to the Borneo Post also cautioned that if the e-cigarettes were freely made available, smoking among school children would also see a rise, adding that the number of smokers was already growing at an alarming rate.
Liow said it was safe if smokers used the e-cigarettes without nicotine to slowly quit the habit.
“But adding liquid nicotine can make the e-cigarettes more harmful than the normal cigarettes,” he said after launching the ‘First 1,000 days’ programme, a long term health agenda for children to be made available at all government hospital and clinics.
The programme aims to educate pregnant mothers on the dos and don’ts while caring for their babies from the womb until the infants reach two years old.
“The programme will give importance to not only clinical care but also proper food intake which can be a solution to health problems in the long run,” he said.
“We must combat obesity and non communicable diseases (NCD) from at an early age, from pregnancy until early childhood, to ensure healthy old age,” he said.
Diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and cancers were on the rise, according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2011, and over 45 per cent of the population were overweight and obese.