‘Vaping could lead teens to drug addiction’…


PETALING JAYA: Vaping is a risky habit which could lead teenagers into a world of so-called safe drugs, says addiction therapist Chris Sekar.

“Teenagers will develop a false sense of confidence and control over the habit, which is a delusion,” he said.

Chris, who is a member of the Addiction Medicine Association of Malaysia, said there is no such thing as a “safe habit”.

“Non-nicotine vape does not have physical withdrawals, but certainly there will be cognitive withdrawals as in anger, depression, loss of focus and family dissension,” said Chris, who used to smoke and was once a drug addict.

“It must be noted that juices that come in cartridges can be laced with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), thus misleading the young users, especially their parents who think that their teenagers are safe vapers,” he said.

Community health physician at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Faculty of Medicine Prof Dr Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh said that more young people could end up smoking cigarettes or even taking drugs if vaping among students is left unaddressed.

“They may use the open pod where they can mix with illicit drugs such as THC.”

She called for a stop to selling such devices to youngsters.

Dr Sharifa said that while vaping might not be as unhealthy compared to traditional combustible cigarettes (CC), there were still risks to it.

“It contains chemicals that can cause lung injury, especially if the person is asthmatic or has poor lung condition.

“These risks are present, but studies have shown the particulate matter emission and volatile organic compound (VOC) are lower than in CC, so in a way, it is considered less harmful compared to CC.

“But it is not meant to be used in recreational activities or for youths to explore,” she said, adding that vaping is for smokers who wish to quit the habit.

Dr Sharifa spoke of the dangers that non-nicotine vape products could have on its users.

“Non-nicotine vape use is of no value whatsoever.

“In fact, it might introduce foreign materials or microorganisms such as bacteria or fungi into the lungs,” she said.

She stressed on proper monitoring and regulation of eliquid and ecigarettes.

“In the United Kingdom, the ejuice needs to go through strenuous testing in the lab and monitored by MHRA (Medicine and Healthcare Regulatory Authority).

“It must meet certain guidelines set up by Public Health England. Unfortunately, this is not done in Malaysia,” she said.

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