KUALA LUMPUR: 69 per cent of Malaysian smokers say 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.
A majority of Malaysians, or about 66 per cent, believe the government is not doing enough to help smokers quit.
In fact, more than half of parents (55 per cent), teachers (51 per cent) and healthcare professionals (52 per cent) polled agreed that the government should emulate 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 came from the Malaysian Perception of Smoking and Vaping Survey, a recent opinion poll conducted by Green Zebras Sdn Bhd (GZSB), a leading market research company in Malaysia.
The poll also found that 58 per cent 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 per cent of all respondents say that they know someone, be it family, friends or colleagues, who vape and 67 per cent said that they know where to purchase nicotine e-cigarettes.
Ironically, more than half, or 57 per cent polled are aware that nicotine vape products are illegal for
sale 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.
GZSB managing director and co-founder Steve Murphy 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.
Green Zebras’ Malaysian Perception of Smoking and Vaping Survey is timely given that the government is currently drafting a new Tobacco Control and
Smoking Act, Murphy said.
"This survey provides a better understanding of Malaysians’ perception of smoking and vaping which in turn should help relevant stakeholders to make informed decisions,” Murphy added.
“We will be releasing additional insights from the Malaysian Perception on Smoking and Vaping Survey in the coming two weeks to shed further light on national issues.
"Each will be categorised by specific subject matter,” he said.
Green Zebras’ Malaysian Perception on Smoking and Vaping Survey comprised of a sample size of 1,010 Malaysian adults and is reflective of the perception of all Malaysian adults across Peninsular Malaysia.