Health QW smoking

Wah 11-year old Msian kids vaping? Maybe we should ban vape now?

No, the image above is not pictures of 11 year-olds. It’s actually from a video of a Malaysian woman letting her very young children(?) vape. Suara.tv reports that this video went viral very recently after the woman allegedly recorded and posted the video herself, to the ire of many netizens. Suara.tv adds that she is believed to be local from the way she was speaking. Aside from that, we couldn’t find anything else about the woman or kids.

But yea, still doesn’t explain the 11-year olds, that actually comes in the next paragraph. #sorryfortheclickbait

While we don’t know much about this woman, we do know this. Kids vaping? It’s happening. The video earlier shows the woman letting those kids vape, but in many other cases, it’s the kids themselves who pick up the habit.

This was the front page of The Star newspaper a couple of days back.

11-year old vape front page star

The Star’s front page on 2nd Dec 2015. Click to go to article.

In it, The Star reports the story of an 11-year old with a vaping habit.

“I started about two months ago. My brother introduced it to me. I guess he wanted my parents to think that when the two of us were together, we would not do anything mischievous.” – 11-year old kid tells The Star.

The story goes on to talk about how his brother claimed that almost 40% of his male friends in their area of Kemaman, Terengganu own e-cigarettes, while his female friends vaped too. He also adds that vaping is seen as something trendy. Both brothers were even reported to both have their own e-cigarettes costing a total of RM1,100 but they refused to reveal where they got their money from.

The story comes a few days after the Consumer Association of Penang (CAP) said a survey of theirs showed that kids in primary and secondary school were picking up the habit. This other report by The Star also highlights how it’s not that difficult for them to obtain their own vaping equipment.

vape starter kit

An example of what a vape starter kit looks like. Image from slimvapepen.com.

These recent reports have led to parties like the Malaysia Consumers Movement (MCM) to release a statement calling for the ban of vape and e-cigarettes. On the other hand, our gomen has been discussing whether they should ban vape entirely (currently only vape containing nicotine is banned) for the longest time (something we discuss in detail here).

And if something is causing our kids to get hooked on huffing and puffing out big clouds of smoke, we really should consider getting rid of it shouldn’t we?

 

Eh but young kids are smoking cigarettes too? Ban cigarettes….?

smoke vape 1 smoke vape 2 smoke vape 3

Back in 2002, the World Health Organisation stated that 30% of Malaysian boys between 12-18 years old smoke! Furthermore in 2009, their Global Youth Tobacco Survey Malaysia report (done in collab with Ministry of Health) showed that 30% of teens aged 13-15 had smoked a cigarette before and 22.6% of teens “currently use any tobacco product”. (Click here for fact sheet from cdc.gov. It’s a link to a document, so don’t jump out of your chair thinking CILISOS made you download virus.)

The fact sheet goes on to add that as far as tobacco products go, nearly 1 in 5 Malaysians in that age group smoke cigarettes! (While 1 in 10 use other types of tobacco products.)

one of these things smoking kid

One of these things is not like the others~~

On the other hand, The Tobacco Atlas (a sorta watchdog founded the American Cancer Society and the World Lung Foundation) also said something similar in 2013. According to them, 17.1% of boys and 1.9% of girls smoke in Malaysia (although they did not specify the age range). They also added we have more boys smoking compared to other middle income countries.

But what was the gomen’s reaction to this? As far as we could find, the Health Ministry has done a few things over the years to deal with underage smoking.

  • October 2013: Report of a law being drafted to get rid of the cigarette displays you see behind cashiers.
  • February 2015: A health official urged schools and parents to work together to tackle the issue.
  • August 2015: Report of a law being drafted to raise the the legal smoking age to 21 and ban smoking in cars with children in them.

No ban on cigarettes though. But what if it’s because cigarettes are harder for kids to obtain?

 

How difficult is it to get vapes vs cigarettes?

Well to do this comparison we’re gonna look at 2 aspects: Price and availability.

PRICE

Cigarettes: One pack of cigarettes is about RM15-17 now.

Vape: The cheapest starter kit we could find on Lazada was RM31 after discount (which btw is a one time thing, so after first month no more di). As for the juice, the general price range was between RM35-40. We asked 2 friends who vaped and they said a bottle could last between 2 weeks to a month, depending on stress (LOL).

cheap vape kit

Vape, or in other words, a cigarettehobby toy.

We’ll give it a very conservative estimate of one cigarette pack for a week and one bottle of e-juice maybe a month and calculate the cost over a month, this is what we get. (Remember, we’re talking about kids here.)

NAH, BACA:
Malaysia just got its first case of vape-related illness. So how unsafe is vaping?

Cigarettes: RM17 x 4 weeks = RM68

Vape: RM31 (starter kit) + RM35 (juice) = RM66

So vape is actually affordable enough for kids to get it. Especially if they can already afford cigarettes.

 

AVAILABILITY

Cigarettes: Hawker centers, supermarkets, mini markets, you name it. BUT there are laws that prevent sales to kids (see page 39 of this document).

Vape: Shops selling vaping equipment have been popping up all over the place. The shops are still specialised (so not available at any random shop) BUT there are no laws which prevent it from being sold to kids.

A friend of ours in Kemaman, Terengganu (same place where The Star article about kids vaping took place) even sent us a video of a vape shop situated right opposite a school.

 

CONCLUSION

So both in terms of price and availability, it may actually be easier for kids to get their hands on vape! And vaping is dangerous in general right? Banning vape would definitely keep many children away from it (and possibily even prevent people like the woman mentioned at the start of this article from letting their children vape). So banning it to keep people healthy makes perfect sense! Unless…

 

Smoking VS Vaping: Is this all actually about jaga-ing the health of the rakyat?

Well maybe. Nicotine is actually a controlled substance that can only be purchased legally from pharmacies (see page 37 of this document). Thus the gomen could be banning vape containing nicotine is valid because technically nicotine can only be sold legally at pharmacies. 

But if nicotine is a controlled substance, why still got cigarettes? Well, because tobacco is an exception and it falls under a different law (heck Malaysia even has a whole lembaga tembakau). But that is on the health side la. There very well could be some other things that we don’t know. So now we traverse to where our writer UiHua would call the CILISOS Conspiracy Corner.

cilisos conspiracy

Complete with Illuminati triangles.

If you’ve read our previous article on vaping, we actually talk about possible conspiracy theories why the gomen would wanna ban vape.

Conspiracy Theory 1: Gomen doesn’t want cigarette taxes to drop

Basically our gomen collects a decent amount of taxes from cigarette sales. If people start to move from cigarettes to vape, they lose money.

Conspiracy Theory 2: Certain people don’t want illegal cigarette sales to drop

We found an article by Transparency International that commended MACC for arresting customs officers, including a State Director, for smuggling cigarettes and alcohol. So yes, there are possibly gomen people who stand to gain from illegal cigarette sales.

And all you vapers now be like…

vaping conspiracy cat

Once again, you can read about these conspiracies in more detail here. But regardless of the reason, maybe us regular people should consider one last thing before we decide for ourselves whether vaping should go or stay.

 

Can we not be too hasty to get rid of something that MAY be good?

Yes, kids vaping is a problem, but at the same time, kids smoking is also a problem. But as the discussed earlier, the difference between them at the moment is one has laws that prevent them from being sold to kids, while the other doesn’t.

But is banning vape completely the only solution to the problem?

The UK gomen recently released a study that concluded that vape is at best 95% less harmful than cigarettes. While 95% less harmful still means it is harmful in some way, another thing that the research said is that it does have the potential to help smokers quit smoking. (But to be fair, that’s what they said about cigarettes when it first came out so if vape also can be avoided completely even better la right?)

smoke

Remember kids, smoking is not safe. Image from Cyanide and Happiness.

So while we do not in any way endorse kids taking up vaping, it does seem maybe a bit harsh to ban vaping completely to prevent kids from vaping. Because we definitely didn’t do that to cigarettes.

What could be the solution then? Well, we found both local and international (like this, this, this, this, and got others la go find yourself) that mention how vaping should be regulated. 

“A de-facto ban on e-cigs has the perverse effect of protecting regular cigarettes from competition, he says in an e-mail interview. A ban also means that the government abrogates responsibility for ensuring safety and quality of e-cigs. Removing a ban provides opportunity for good regulation that offers Malaysia’s smokers a viable exit from smoking.” – Imperial College London Emeritus Professor Gerry Stimson, as quoted by The Star.

Even a poll down among our readers saw 45% percent of the respondents vote in favour of regulations instead of outright banning.

vaping malaysia poll

So maybe that is a better solution la. Rather than just get rid of vape, we control it to keep it away from kids, yet accessible enough to help people from other age groups.

The Star Online E cigarettes and vaping are becoming dangerous...4

Well we don’t know if it’s the best way to quit smoking, but you get what we mean la.

13 Comments

  1. James

    04/12/2015 at 3:58 pm

    So all Cilisos does is just copy and paste news like from The Star. Why can’t you go and investigate and come out with an original article? Seems like Cilisos writers are just lazy bunch of writers. Why can’t you call the police and or lawyers to find out if the mother has been charged or not? Don’t just simply copy and paste articles although you cite the star. No wonder journalism is going down in Malaysia thanks to so called social news websites like cilisos. If The Star can get these kind of information is because they worked hard to find the source. Buck up Cilisos!

    • Chak Onn Lau

      07/12/2015 at 4:02 pm

      Sorry James, we’re quite offended by your comment, considering how much research we do put into articles. Etc in the article above, how many cigarette smokers are actually in Malaysia. Not to mention that we don’t AGREE with the Star article in the first place, thus the copypaste argument is quite nonsensical. Usually I’d say I appreciate the feedback, but by calling us a social news website, I actually do not appreciate this kind of feedback at all.

    • Simon Chen

      07/12/2015 at 8:14 pm

      What’s a “social news website”, I mean, sounds like Hong Kong Celebrity Tabloid? Like that ahh? #Q&A

    • Simon Chen

      07/12/2015 at 8:12 pm

      To be fair, neither the Star did what you’d expected Cilisos to do.
      Also, Cilisos ain’t “lazy bunch of writers”. That award would go to Utusan(hehehehe!). They themselves cannot find any info on this woman.
      For all I know, this woman could be doing it to create a negative image of vaping! Woooaahhh! #mindblown #CilisosConspiracyCorner
      Also, is Cilisos the police, meh? Chillax and vape!
      Oppppsss!

    • Chak Onn Lau

      08/12/2015 at 12:31 pm

      :)))

  2. MusaNg

    04/12/2015 at 11:08 am

    Johannan Sim,

    That woman who is allowing her under-aged children to vape should be charged with child abuse.

    Vaping is no different from smoking cigarettes and should be treated no different from cigarettes.

    I am puzzled as to why the government is introducing laws to treat vaping as a form of smoking.

    • Johannan Sim

      04/12/2015 at 1:41 pm

      Hi MusaNg,

      Do you know which news portal said that she’s been charged? Because we really couldn’t find it 🙁

      And yea maybe vaping should be treated with as much caution as cigarettes, but at the moment the gomen is just outright banning it instead of introducing laws.

    • MusaNg

      04/12/2015 at 2:48 pm

      Johannan Sim,

      The reason you cannot find it on any news portal is because my comment was that she “should be charged”.

      Plus I just realised I should have said ..

      “I am puzzled as to why the government is NOT introducing laws to treat vaping as a form of smoking.”

    • Johannan Sim

      04/12/2015 at 3:46 pm

      Oh sorry hahahaha. Paiseh. :B

    • MusaNg

      04/12/2015 at 8:44 pm

      Johannan Sim,

      No need to paiseh because you noticed it and acknowledged it, so that cancels out the need for paiseh, you see 🙂

    • Simon Chen

      07/12/2015 at 8:24 pm

      She should be charged but just like the RM 2.6 Billion “donation”, it will remained unanswered.
      You gotta admit it was a field day for the likes of the Star to start demonizing vaping. Now we got an image of thousands of eleven years old Malaysian kids vaping behind their parents. Then again, when I was once a kid and a teen, it was quite common to come across those who experiment with and later using cigarettes. That was way back in 1994!

    • MusaNg

      07/12/2015 at 10:34 pm

      Simon Chen,

      In most western countries nowadays, smoking is considered uncool amongst the younger generation.

      Western school children are turning away from cigarettes in their droves.

      Those western governments have slowly but surely increased taxes bit by bit over the years to the extent that cigarettes are no longer affordable by school children or the younger generation.

      Big tobacco now court countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, India, China, the Middle East, etc etc.

    • Simon Chen

      07/12/2015 at 10:52 pm

      You forgot to mention vaping amongst the younger generation to contribute to lowering cigarette usage.

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