“Vaping could lead teens to drug addiction”

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

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

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

“Vaping without nicotine has no physical withdrawals, but there will definitely be cognitive withdrawals such as in anger, depression, loss of focus and family dissension,” said Chris, who smoked and was a former drug addict.

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

Community health doctor at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Faculty of Medicine, Professor Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh said more young people could end up smoking cigarettes or even taking drugs if vaping among students is not resolved.

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

She called for the sale of such devices to young people to be stopped.

Dr Sharifa said while vaping might not be as unhealthy as traditional fuel-powered (CC) cigarettes, it still comes with risks.

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

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

“But it is not intended for use in recreational activities or for exploring by young people,” she said, adding that vaping is for smokers who want to quit.

Dr. Sharifa spoke about the dangers that vaping products without nicotine could have on its users.

“The use of vape without nicotine has no value.

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

She insisted on proper monitoring and regulation of e-liquids and e-cigarettes.

“In the UK, ejuice must undergo rigorous laboratory testing and be monitored by the MHRA (Medicine and Healthcare Regulatory Authority).

“He has to follow certain guidelines set out by Public Health England. Unfortunately, this is not done in Malaysia,” she said.

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