49% Local Smokers Now Use Vaping To Reduce Or Quit Smoking

49% Local Smokers Now Use Vaping To Reduce Or Quit Smoking

KUALA LUMPUR, June 2022 – A new survey on Malaysian smokers reveals that nearly half choose to vape to cut down on smoking cigarettes or to quit completely (49%).

In late 2021, Kantar, an international research agency, undertook a survey regarding usage and attitudes towards vaping, tobacco products and cigarettes in Malaysia and interviewed 500 people in the country.

Commenting on these findings, Dr. Delon Human, President and CEO of Health Diplomats, a specialized health, nutrition and wellness consulting group operating worldwide, says, “This appears consistent with mounting scientific evidence that vaping is preferred by smokers and effective to help them kick the habit.

“Available evidence so far shows that the majority of smokers want to quit the habit. For example, in the United Kingdom, around two-thirds of smokers, regardless of their social group, want to stop smoking and vaping has become the method of choice to quit smoking in that country.”

Smokers perception

The survey also found that 52% of Malaysian smokers perceive vaping to be less harmful than smoking cigarettes. On this basis, 86% said that vaping should be made available to smokers as a less harmful product and 90% believe that vaping should be actively promoted as a less harmful alternative to smoking cigarettes.

“Studies on the use of e-cigarettes has so far pointed to the fact that vaping is not risk free but significantly less harmful compared to smoking cigarettes. Interestingly, the rate of Malaysian smokers understanding this fact is high compared to other countries.

“For example, Public Health England 2021 reviewed the evidence and stated that only 29% of smokers in the UK believed vaping was less harmful than smoking, despite the country adopting a harm reduction approach in encouraging cigarette smokers to switch to vaping,” adds Dr Human.

The survey also gauged thoughts from Malaysians on regulations, and found that 60% have concerns that vaping products are not regulated.

The majority of them support regulations for e-cigarettes and believe it should be regulated as a consumer product instead of a medicinal product and should be dispensed by medical practitioners.

At the same time, an overwhelming 81% believe regulations must be put in place to ensure the products are not defective and meet product and quality standards as well as not sold to minors or underage children.

Strike a balance

“This study shows vaping in Malaysia has great potential to help the Government reduce smoking prevalence as it is a popular tool used by smokers to cut down and quit smoking.

“As Malaysia stands on the cusp of introducing laws to regulate vaping products, it is important to strike a balance to ensure measures do not obstruct smokers switching from smoking to less harmful alternatives and ensuring products are not used by those who are underage and non-smokers.

“A risk-proportionate regulation is the appropriate way to strike this balance by imposing the right controls are in place and also taking into account the potential it has to help reduce smoking prevalence in Malaysia,” adds Dr Human.