This is quite a sensitive issue. People who have strong affinity to this are very defensive. Hence, I don’t attempt to accentuate any inclination of stances upon this matter. What I really want to do is to write about the evolution of this trend as well as to quote a few articles written on this matter. This afternoon on the way to the Serendah’s Nurul Iman Mosque, I’ve listened to the topic on “vape” in the”Islam & Sains” slot helm by Yang Bhg. Prof. Datin Dr. Azizan bt Baharuddin in IKIM. fm and it caught my attention. I have also written another piece of blog entry on September 11, 2015, inspired by the topic discussed in the slot as well, which was about the “3-Parent Babies via Mitochondrial Transplant” (REFER to https://undomiel84.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/the-3-prent-babies-the-evolution-of-mitochondria-replacement-in-vitro-fertilization-or-an-unlawful-menage-a-trois/).
Yang Bhg. Prof. Datin Dr. Azizan bt Baharuddin. I enjoyed her slot every Friday at 12.30 p.m. in IKIM. fm – “Islam & Sains” (Islam & Science).
Smoking cigarette is quite a ubiquitous scene since ages ago. Young teenagers trapped in the culture due to peer pressure and of course, the influence of commercialized advertisements and fictionalized glamours depicted in Hollywood movies portraying smoking as sense of machismo. Although the 37th Muzakarah Jawatankuasa Fatwa Majlis Kebangsaan Hal Ehwal Islam Malaysia on 23rd March 1995 stated that smoking is prohibited in Islam, the culture is unstoppable till today in Malaysia. I am not going to preach about this as I am no saint.
Now, the evolution took place around 5 years ago when suddenly, smoking a cigarette (or cigar for those who deemed to be perceived as ‘elitist’ or exclusive) was not anymore the “in” thing. Teenagers were interested to do Shisha or Hookah which originated from the Middle Eastern culture. At this point of time, you could see Malaysian teenagers hanging around in restaurants laughing together loudly while smoking Shisha. The attraction of doing this was due to the immense smoke produced as well as the multivariant flavours offered such as watermelon, apple, grapes, guava and many more. A company called Al-Fakher (http://www.alfakherflavours.com/) apparently is one of the most popular manufacturers to offer different flavours of Shisha. With Middle Eastern element to illustrate mysticism and exotic features, smoking Shisha does not only applicable to men. As opposed to smoking cigarette or cigar which is usually associated with men, Shisha seemed to be quite an enticing attraction for the women. Perhaps it was because that the olden days Arabian women did smoke Shisha (Bedouin & Persian) and that also represented quite a symbol of lavish lifestyles among the Arabian aristocrats – which somehow served as magnets amongst the women.
Shisha or Hookah.
Perhaps women were drawn to Shisha as they thought it was sexy. Middle Eastern elements are always mysterious and exotic and perceived as lavish classy, I guess.
Now as of late, Malaysians are now clamouring upon the E-Cigarettes or famously known as “vape”; a term derived from the act of inhaling the vapour from the E-Cigarettes. It is said that smoking E-Cigarette usually is done to replace the addiction towards the tobacco-fueled ordinary cigarettes as the former revolves around aerosol inhalation. I am not going to write about comparison whether E-Cigarette is better or worse than the tobacco cigarette as of course I am aware that I have acquaintances from different camps (Pro & Anti) who may feel offended; so I am threading on the neutral base. But what intrigued me are based on my observations mainly from Facebook. I’ve perused and read the comments made by both parties (The Pro E-Cigarette Camp & The Anti E-Cigarette Camp). The popularity of vaping in Malaysia is so apparent that these days, it is a common sight to see “vaping stores” as well as VapeFests catered for the E-Cigs aficionados (REFER to http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2015/06/28/Vaping-teens/).
Various VapeFest in Malaysia.
The Pro Camp claimed that :-
- By vaping, they resort to an alternative to gradually helping them to stop smoking as vaping involves no tobacco;
- They also said that vaping will inflict lesser hazardous health effects in comparison to smoking tobacco cigarette;
- In addition, the Pro Camp also questioned the relevance of Malaysian Government to vehemently addressing the bad effects caused by E-Cigarette but yet REMAINED SILENT on the tobacco companies producing the cigarettes that are CLEARLY HAZARDOUS to human. Is is because that tobacco industry is lucrative business for the Government? The Pro Camp feels that Government shuns its authoritative power against the BIG FISH but only prying on the SMALL FRIES;
- Selling E-Cigarettes is a Malay budding economical empowerment in Malaysia (most vendors are said to be Malays). Therefore to prohibit E-Cigarette industry is to kill the Malay financial lines.
Whereas, The Anti Camp claimed that :-
- Vaping produces immense smoke and that is a nuisance to the public especially in restaurants;
- School children and adolescents are starting to vape due to the “cool trend” as well as the various flavoured offered;
- Too many unknown chemicals involved and some marketers even created their own “experimental products” to the customers;
- Whatever deemed harmful to the body is considered “haram” prohibited by Islam – religious point of view;
- China invented E-Cigarettes (Hon Lik) but the Chinese showed little interest to vape (http://www.economist.com/news/china/21654108-vaping-west-seen-way-quit-smoking-china-it-may-not-be-candy-flavoured-smokes); so why Malaysians are killing themselves?
Actually, I am quite impressed with the marketers’ skills in producing all kinds of flavours! Wow, they must be good in Chemistry. No pun intended, I really mean this. Just looked at these flavours! So many! Amazing!
The first time I’ve been introduced to the existence of E-Cigarette was during one of my night rendezvouses in Cheras Uptown. I was bewildered and captivated by these and seeing so many teenagers flocking at the stalls.
The debate is endless and the consensus is yet to be achieved. It is interesting to see how the evolution takes place. Will E-Cigarettes replace the tobacco-laden counterparts in Malaysia? Or after Shisha and Vaping; will there be any new invention to assuage the smoking addiction? For you and I to find out!