Why we must adopt GEG, ban ENDS

LETTERS: The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) calls on the incoming government to proceed with the adoption of Generational End Game (GEG) as soon as possible and ban electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) completely.

This is because permitting the use of ENDS will create a massive problem concerning drug addiction for generations to come.

In November 2019, CAP explicitly warned that "vaping should be banned, not regulated, because it is impossible to monitor the hundreds of legal and illegal e-liquid brands in the market".

We even gave the reason that it "would not be able to verify the composition of those e-liquids, besides the fact that such an exercise is very laborious and expensive".

In early November, the federal police from Bukit Aman confirmed our deepest fear that drug-laced e-liquids were being sold openly. Therefore, the in-coming government should proceed with the adoption of GEG and completely ban ENDS.

The reasons are:

E-LIQUIDS containing illicit drugs can be packed in bottles with fake labels. It is humanly impossible for the government to monitor the products sold by some 3,000 domestic vape retailers. DrugWatch conceded that "it's difficult to determine what's in the thousands of different e-liquids, also called e-juice or vape juice, sold for e-cigarettes".

DRUGWATCH also pointed out that: "Part of that is because the United States Food and Drug Administration hasn't reviewed ingredients or set standards. There are many brands and flavours with many different ingredients."

IT is possible to include certain illicit drugs such as tetrahydrocannabinol, cannabidiol (both ingredients in marijuana), lysergic acid diethylamide, gamma hydroxybutyrate and ketamine in e-liquids.

E-LIQUID composition may have to be tested using gas chromatography with mass spectrometry methods with instruments only found in modern analytical chemistry laboratories. The tests are expensive and an unnecessary fiscal burden for the government.

A 2017 study conducted in Malaysia revealed that 54 per cent of the vapers interviewed obtained their zero-nicotine e-liquid from the black market; 30 per cent obtained homemade e-liquid. The government should not be naive enough to assume that there is no black market for e-liquids. In fact, e-liquids can easily be formulated "in the kitchen" with only basic equipment.

THERE is also a likelihood that unscrupulous people will use cheaper industrial-grade chemicals instead of food-grade chemicals. Industrial grade chemicals are not so critical about certain contaminants, depending on the chemical and its intended use.

How can officers distinguish between genuine e-liquids and those that have been laced with illicit drugs since they use the same type of vaping device? As such, we reiterate our call to the incoming government to adopt GEG, including a blanket ban on ENDS.


President, Consumers Association of Penang

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

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