The first time I saw someone vaping was when I saw a colleague, who had been a heavy smoker, smoking an e-cigarette. With the help of the e-cigarette, he quit smoking. This sounded like the perfect solution to people who want to quit smoking with added perks for those who do not smoke, hate the smell, and having to inhale someone else’s cigarette smoke. This seemed like a solution for non-smokers and smokers alike.
Here in Kuala Lumpur, by my estimation, more people vape than smoke. I can see how this has become a positive trend. It’s cool; the amount of nicotine is small in comparison to cigarettes, and it does not invade my personal breathing space. Everyone seems content.
Last week, when I was looking for something trendy to write about, I noticed a newspaper headline about banning vaping in Malaysia. With the legalization of marijuana in the US, legal alcohol since prohibition, this seems a bit ridiculous. Vaping weans smokers from cigarettes; it does not create second hand smoke, and it is not the government’s business to decide what one chooses to do with his or her lungs.
Digging deeper into the subject of vaping, I found out that the liquid nicotine in e-cigarettes falls under poison according to the Malaysian Poison Act of 1952. Big deal. It seems that the world has a lot more to worry about than what people choose to consume – global warming, terrorism, refugees, to name a few.
On the flip side, Hawaii one drug rehabilitation center found that vaping is a great way to disguise drug consumption. Mix a little meth in with the liquid that turns into vapor and anyone can consume it in the open. That is a problem. It is also a problem that e-cigarettes are touted as healthy, when they aren’t. I also find it difficult to believe that inhaling anything unnatural will have an adverse effect. That opens a whole new can of worms about the air we breathe. Which sometimes may be far worse than nicotine.
After living in the haze produced by the slashing and burning to the jungle in Indonesia for four months, it irks me that anyone in Malaysia sees the relevance in protecting those who choose to pollute their lungs with nicotine. If those against vaping are so concerned about what people inhale, perhaps their energy would be better spent enforcing the laws that the palm oil industries break every year by slashing and burning their jungles. Personally, I am more concerned for the animals, the trees, the air and my lungs than I am about people who choose to pollute their lungs, which they have every right to do.