KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Health (MOH) has received 17 cases related to e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury (EVALI) so far this month, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan.

He said all medical practitioners have been urged to continue notifying the MOH if any patient is diagnosed with EVALI.

“As such, the MOH would like to remind all users that electronic cigarettes or vaping are unsafe because they have adverse effects on health and it is not an alternative method to quit smoking.

“Smokers are advised to obtain treatment at quit smoking clinics provided at nearby health clinics or visit the website www.jomquit.com,” he said in a statement today.

He said that in 2021, the MOH established the Guidance on the Clinical Management of EVALI to assist medical practitioners to detect and treat EVALI cases.

Dr Muhammad Radzi said that in June last year, the MOH began disease monitoring activities related to the use of electronic cigarettes or vaping, including EVALI through the Health director-general’s circular regarding notification requirements.

So far, he said the use of electronic cigarettes has been proven to cause harm because the substances contained in them, when heated, will produce chemicals that can have an inflammatory effect on the lining of the lungs and cause EVALI-related disease.

He said the data obtained through the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2022 showed an increase in the use of electronic cigarettes among teenagers aged 13 to 17 from 9.8 per cent in 2017 to 14.9 per cent in 2022.

“A significant increase also occurred among teenage girls, from 2.8 per cent in 2017 to 6.2 per cent in 2022,” he said. - Bernama