The Health Ministry is prepared to wait for scientific studies showing e-cigarette can help smokers quit the habit before it considers amending legislation to ban vaping.

Health deputy director-general Datuk Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said the research could be done locally or abroad.

Until today, there is no scientific proof showing that e-cigarette can help smokers quit the habit, he added.

Pending the outcome of the research, he advised addicted smokers who took up vaping, to (purportedly) quit the habit, to seek the treatment that had been provided by the government since 2004.

"Based on psychiatrists, to address the (smoking) addiction, the solution is not to be drawn to other things, because if there is an element of addiction for other thing, then the approach is not a solution to addiction problem.

"Vape, e-cigarette and cigarettes are the same like gambling. Before, gambling uses cards, now gambling can be done on computers," he added.

He told this to reporters after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding on M Quit Services, which involves cooperation between the public and private sector to provide treatment for smokers to quit the habit, here Friday.

The MoU was signed by Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, on behalf of the Health Ministry and representatives University of Malaya, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysian Academy of Pharmacy and Johnson and Johnson Sdn Bhd.

Prior to this, Dr Lokman was reported to have said that the sale and use of e-cigarette containing nicotine liquid are subject to the Poisons Act 1952 and Food Act 1983 under the Control of Tobacco Products Regulations 2004.

On the M Quit Services, Dr Lokman said the programme had succeeded in helping at least 21 out of 100 people to quit the smoking habit.