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Switch to vape can Save RM1.3b treating smoking-related diseases

Switch to vape can Save RM1.3b treating smoking-related diseases

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 January 2022 – In a report entitled Clearing the Smoke: Tobacco Harm Reduction launched today, DARE says Tobacco Harm Reduction is a game-changer.

“The adoption of THR strategies can be game-changing to manage smoking prevalence in Malaysia, largely stagnant for over a decade.”

Analysis completed by DARE revealed that vape alone, through regulations can get smokers to switch to vape as a less harmful alternative. On top of that, it can reduce the smoking population in Malaysia to 4.0 million by 2025.

Furthermore, vape will help reduce Malaysia’s healthcare spending on treating smoking-related diseases by RM1.3 billion in 2025, says the report.

Pankaj Kumar, Managing Director of DARE says Malaysia will reap tangible benefits if it adopts this strategy.

“We derive this data using calculation models by credible international agencies, such as Public Health England and Cochrane Review. Our findings clearly show that Malaysia will be able to reap tangible results from embracing THR. Developing sensible regulations for less harmful products is important to help the country achieve this agenda.”

“As a start, DARE recommends that Malaysia differentiates tobacco products from less harmful products such as vape. Vape is proven scientifically as a less harmful alternative and effective to help smokers to quit by switching. Steps must also be taken to ensure that these less harmful products are regulated. There must be high standards of manufacturing, safety, product information, quality, and efficacy altogether.”

“DARE recommends a risk-proportionate approach, with regulators imposing restrictions in proportion to the risk to health posed by the product. For example, traditional cigarettes would have warnings for smokers, but vaping products should have subtle messages about the value of switching.”

THR Strategies

To curate local data for the report, a perception survey was conducted in September 2021. It says 80% of Malaysians believe that the adoption of THR strategies will help smokers quit traditional cigarettes. That is because they will be able to switch to less harmful alternatives. An overwhelming majority (95%) said that the Malaysian government must be involved in implementing THR strategies in Malaysia. 

The findings from this report are timely as Malaysia is at the cusp of introducing regulations for vape. This will follow the implementation of a taxation framework which was announced during the tabling of the 2022 Budget.

“By all means, Malaysia must continue existing programmes to reduce the smoking prevalence. However, leaders must also be open to exploring new science-based solutions proven to be effective in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. We must look at the trends in our country and determine the best strategies to develop a framework that fits our reality. “

“In concert, we can reduce the demand for tobacco, minimise harm, reduce costs to health systems and ultimately, save lives,” Pankaj concluded. 

Download the full Clearing the Smoke: Tobacco Harm Reduction report at DARE’s website.